Refrigerator Door: Local Voices, News & Trends
by Thygerson Vaun
Contributing writer and mother of three
Jun 27, 2024
TODN receives Nonprofit of the Year award for District 32.
Assemblyman Vince Fong Names The Open Door Network as Nonprofit of the Year

Assemblyman Vince Fong recently named The Open Door Network (TODN) as the Nonprofit of the Year for Assembly District 32. This recognition reflects TODN’s unwavering dedication to its comprehensive support services that help assist women and families facing homelessness and domestic violence in Kern County.

“The Open Door Network is an essential part of the Kern County community, helping women and families experiencing homelessness and domestic violence find their footing,” says Assemblyman Vince Fong. “The services provided by The Open Door Network are comprehensive and nothing short of life-changing for the people who are in need of their help.”

From expanding its shelters to reach more women and children across Kern County, to offering career support services, TODN is dedicated to ensuring that women and families successfully transition out of homelessness and abusive situations and successfully reintegrate in into the community.

“Supporting our most vulnerable populations across Kern County is no easy task.  We are honored to be recognized for the difficult and honorable work our 300 employees pursue every day in hopes to change someone’s life for the better,” says Lauren Skidmore, CEO of TODN.  “This is truly a recognition of all the amazing work being done to support those facing violence and homelessness.”

Bank of American Awards $175,000 to Kern County Nonprofits

Bank of America recently announced its first round of grants totaling more than $175,000 to five Kern County nonprofits focused on improving the lives of individuals and families through jobs and the health of underserved communities. Economic growth is directly correlated to a community’s access to quality education, skills training, and employment opportunities. Yet, according to recent U.S. census data only 19 percent of Kern County residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher form of education. To help close this education gap, Bank of America supports a range of educational and workforce development opportunities, including upskilling and reskilling programs and paid workforce readiness programs that will help individuals and families stabilize and advance.

Grantees include:  The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County’s Summer Jobs Program, Garden Pathways’ Summer Youth Paid Internship Program; Taft College’s Allied Health Studies program; The Open Door Network, Hopester, Inc.; and the Kern Economic Development Foundation’s internship program.

“Partnering with impactful local organizations to address important issues like youth workforce development and pathways to employment is part of our commitment to creating real change in Bakersfield,” says Karen Zuber, president, Bakersfield. “Investing in Kern County’s nonprofits helps provide the resources and support needed to help build thriving communities long-term.”

(Photo Courtesy of Bank of America)

The Kern County Department of Human Services’ Benefits Express Mobile Office

The Kern County Department of Human Services (DHS) announces its new Benefits Bus that brings the benefits to the community.  This program is thanks to a federal grant from the Federal Government’s SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), one of five received in the United States during this grant cycle.

The 38-foot-RV named, “Benefits Express,” took over two years to build and includes five work stations, as well as a handicapped entrance. The vehicle will be used to provide easier access to those who may not be able to get to one of DHS’s offices throughout the county.  Some of the services offered through Benefits Express will include CalFresh, Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, and general assistance.  To apply for these services online, please visit or

For information regarding upcoming locations and times for accessing this new service, please visit

(Photo Courtesy of Kern County Department of Public Health)

Local 88.3 Life FM Wins Medium Market Station of the Year

Radio Station 88.3 Life FM was recently awarded the Medium Market Station of the year, a national award from Christian Music Broadcasters. The judges spotlighted the work Life FM does in the community, the deep connection to local listeners, willingness to work alongside other radio stations, and the relational aspect that comes through the on-air and in-person events.

“I was actually caught off guard when we won,” says Matt Pelishek, 88.3 Program Director.  “This is the highest award in our industry, and is incredibly humbling. Every person who has ever been a part of Life FM, or joined us at an event, should consider yourselves shared recipients of this award.  Our goal has never been awards, it has been to bring hope to our community, and prayerfully honor God in that process.  I can’t thank our team enough for all of their hard work and dedication.  What an incredible honor to receive as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of this ministry!”

For more information, please visit

The Bakersfield Elks Lodge Donates $6,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County

The Bakersfield Elks Lodge recently donated $6,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County to support STEM programming.  This award will bring STEM activities to Club Members including Sphero robots, 3-D Printing, Bee-Bot programmable floor robots, Squishy Circuits, and Snap Circuits.  These programs will help the users to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and other 21st-century skills.

“Bakersfield Elks Lodge has been serving the Bakersfield community for 130 years. The Elks live by four core values. Justice, Brotherly Love, Charity, and Fidelity. Charity is the most important, and we strive to be charitable to children, the military, veterans, and first responders,” says David Lee Wafford, Exalted Ruler. “It is with great pride that the Elks are making a large donation to the Boys and Girls Club for the second year in a row, and we hope to continue.” 

For more information, please visit

 North Rotary Club & Foundation makes Community Impact

Congratulations to the Bakersfield North Rotary (BNR) on their achievements and positive impact within the community. With over 50 dedicated members, including some honorary ones, you may have not met yet, the collective impact is profound and significant, as evidenced by our reports to Rotary District 5240.

Patrick Hoffman, President of Bakersfield North Rotary, shared highlights of the top clubs in District 5240, showcasing the substantial impacts that clubs and their foundations have made through volunteer work and charitable actions during the 2023-2024 Rotary year. Out of the nearly 70 clubs in our district, our club proudly stands at the 5th position, and only Kern County Club, in terms of the financial impact we’ve made in our community—a truly remarkable feat! Kudos to Bakersfield North Rotary!

Our “impacts” stem from various fundraising initiatives like the Thanksgiving Baskets, French Connection (previously known as Wine Mafia), and Dinner at the Derby (which may not yet be included in this report). Additionally, our foundation’s support extends to donations for local non-profits and scholarships for NHS and FHS Interact students. The success of these endeavors is a direct result of your unwavering support—through quarterly billed fines, recognition of personal milestones, engagement in our Partners in Philanthropy program, and your active participation in our events. Our club’s history is rich with member support, and we are fortunate to have additional backing from community partners such as Chevron, Standard School District, Supervisor Jeff Flores, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, among others. It truly does take a village, and we are incredibly grateful for ours.

My Husband’s Nuts Owner Thanks Customers for 21 Years in Business

After 21 years in business, Jennifer Rogers-Etcheverry, owner and farmer’s wife of My

Husband’s Nuts has decided to move on to the next chapter in her life. “I opened the doors to My Husband’s Nuts in 2003. Over the past 21 years, I have been blessed to have met some of the most amazing customers who have become special friends,” she says. “From store owners to individual clients far away, you trusted me and my product. I will miss you!”

As the great granddaughter of Will Rogers, Jennifer has been the family representative travelling nationally to promote his legacy and to receive awards on the family’s behalf. For her next chapter, she will focus on this mission fulltime. She invites everyone to follow along on her new journey through “The Will Rogers Experience” on Facebook and Instagram and

(Photo Courtesy of My Husband's Nuts)

U.S. Postage Set to Increase in July

The U.S. Postal Service filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission of mailing services a recommendation to increase prices to take effect July 14. The new rates could include a 5-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp from 68 cents to 73 cents. For more details on the price changes, please visit

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