United Way

The spirit of Christmas can’t be stolen

By: Henry Flores, 23ABC , Amy Pachla, 23ABC

To watch the full story, click here.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The United Way of Kern County had prepared for months for December 23. Through their Adopt-A-Family project, UWKC was scheduled to drop off Christmas presents, food, cleaning supplies, and other resources to 12 selected families in need in Kern County.

When the crew showed up at 8:45 on Friday morning ready to go, UWKC Director of Marketing and Development Gabriel Adame found that their company vehicles had been vandalized and burglarized. Both of the vehicles had their catalytic converters cut off and stolen.

“After analyzing it, we had noticed that the catalytic converter was stolen on one of the vehicles, and the other was attempted to the stolen, so that one was basically falling off,” said Adame.

Adame says when he tried to turn the engine over and heard the noise, he knew right away the catalytic converter had been stolen, but that wasn’t going to prevent him from delivering gifts.

“It put a damper in our distribution, right? But we were dedicated, and we knew we were going to deliver these resources and gifts and food to the families because we know how much it meant to them,” said Adame.

This didn’t stop them, says UWKC President and CEO Mari Perez-Dowling.

The Bakersfield Police Department, the M.A.R.S. Group, which specializes in adult and elderly residential services for people with developmental disabilities, and Aim Consulting, a community engagement firm, answered the call for help, providing their vans to help UWKC make their deliveries.

Adame says the repairs to the United Way’s vehicles are estimated to be more than a thousand dollars. If you are interested in making a donation to the United Way of Kern County, or to learn how you can volunteer, please visit the UWKC website.

To find out more about the United Way of Kern County, or to learn how you can help in the community, please visit the UWKC website.

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