‘We Three Deputies’ deliver Christmas hope

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

‘We Three Deputies’ deliver Christmas hopeIf a Kern County Sheriff’s Department deputy comes to your door, it’s not always because someone’s in trouble.

For three local KCSO deputies, a fun side to the job that brings them personal satisfaction involves delivering Christmas food baskets to selected families in need.

KCSO delivers about 400 baskets countywide this season. This annual event has been quietly going on at least a quarter of a century.

Senior Detention Deputy Jaime Hernandez, who is in charge of the East Kern (Ridgecrest) Jail, joined the volunteer team for the project this year.

“My family and I were recipients in the late 1980s,” he said. “I had cancer then. It was a good feeling for me and my family, knowing somebody out there cares. Who knew that 25 years later I’d be part of this and giving back for what I received! It’s a good feeling.”

That experience was part of his decision to work for the KCSO. “I told myself then that’s what I want to be when I grow up,” said Hernandez.

“It’s great to give back to the community,” said Deputy Darrin Clodt. “Sometimes it feels like we’re only doing bad things, like taking people to jail. It’s nice to be able to show up for a good reason.”

Sgt. Paul Leonard explained how the project works. The food is packed into two boxes for each family, containing enough food to make a complete Christmas dinner for eight people, including a turkey, potatoes, stuffing, fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, bread, drinks and other food items as donations allow.

“We deliver the boxes right to the family’s doorstep,” said Leonard. “This is the second year Darrin and I have done this, and it’s great! We take referrals from the community. Sometimes the officers who work patrol are aware of families who could benefit. We also get referrals from local schools as well as the Women’s Shelter.”

In a press release from KCSO in Bakersfield, the food boxes were prepared by Bakersfield volunteers on Dec. 18 and delivered Dec. 19 around the county.

“This program is a great opportunity for members of both agencies (KCSO and Bakersfield Police) to make a positive impact on the citizens we serve,” read the release.

Story First Published: 2013-12-25