Charity focuses on homeless, addiction, poverty

By Lt. Tom Mattson, AA/Public Information Officer
North Kern State Prison

The Mission at Kern County is one of a handful of organizations serving the homeless in Bakersfield.

It is the place where the homeless and addicted can come for a day of food and night of shelter, as well as a chance to transform their lives, thanks to the efforts of the faith-based center and long term care.

A gurney, walkers and other equipment were donated by North Kern State Prison to a local charity helping the homeless and less fortunate. From left are Catherine Skow, with The Mission, and Ernest Chavez, with the prison's Medical Warehouse .

A gurney, walkers and other equipment were donated by North Kern State Prison to a local charity helping the homeless and less fortunate. From left are Catherine Skow, with The Mission, and Ernest Chavez, with the prison’s Medical Warehouse .

Ted Kubicki, Chief Executive Officer at North Kern State Prison in Delano, understands the needs of the residents at the Mission.

“We want to be a key part of the solution to the local issues of poverty, addiction and homelessness. Every opportunity this department has we try to extend a helping hand,” said CEO Kubicki.

The mission is one of the largest of its kind in the United States. The Mission was founded in 1952 by a group of men who wanted to help change the lives of homeless and less fortunate families in Bakersfield.

During the early years, staff and volunteers offered food, clothing and ministry support to anyone in need. Today, the Mission continues the same work, expanding its efforts to feed both the body and soul, helping individuals and families break the cycle of poverty and achieve life success.

The Mission focuses on food, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene, life management classes and spiritual encouragement.

North Kern State Prison was able to donate four walkers, hygiene products for males and females, four hazardous material containers and a gurney.

Catherine Skow, a director at the Mission, said it was a timely donation. She said many of the residents are handicapped and the walkers are a blessing.

Acting Warden Kelly Santoro acknowledged the importance of the Mission.

“Our goal is to provide each resident with restoration and hope,” Warden Santoro said.

By the numbers

The last Kern County Point-in-Time Counts revealed on any given night of the year, there are 1,158 people living in homelessness. About 87 percent (1,008) of all homeless are found in the metropolitan Bakersfield area; about 13 percent (150) are found in rural communities.