Oil companies are back in action helping feed Kern County families and raise funds to support Bakersfield’s Golden Empire Gleaners. Dozens of community members brought donations to a June 17 kickoff event at Aera Energy, an official start to the 2021 Oil Can Do It Community Food Drive.
The event took place just after the state’s reopening on June 15, and the community gave generously – bringing 27,543 pounds of non-perishable food items. Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh also lent her support.
Oil Can Do It, an annual contest that started in the 1990s, pits Aera, Chevron Corp., California Resources Corp. and the American Petroleum Institute against one another in a friendly competition to see which organization can raise the most food and money to reduce food insecurity during the summer months. It serves as one of the Gleaner’s biggest fundraisers of the year.
The donations are coming at a great time. The state is beginning to recover after the pandemic, but local families are still struggling to put food on the table. The Gleaners served an estimated 18,000 people per month prior to the pandemic and saw a sharp 25 percent increase in the number of families, individuals and seniors asking for food assistance at the start of the pandemic. While some families have been able to get back on their feet, the need overall remains constant.
“My family has been blessed by the opportunities given to me as a local business owner and to my sister who works in the oil industry,” said Bakersfield resident Steven Everett, who brought donations to the event. “We were raised to give back whenever and however we can. Oil Can Do It is a way for me to support my community in this time of need.”
Oil Can Do It runs through August 31, and the oil company that raises the most donations will be announced at Bakersfield’s annual Business & Industry Leaders Breakfast in the fall.
Click here to donate to the Oil Can Do It campaign, and list Aera Energy in the “notes” section of the payment window as you make your donation. Call 661-324-2767 to donate by phone.