Westside Family Fellowship will benefit from a generous grant awarded by the Wonderful Company to fund their free farmer's market for another year. This will help thousands of local families with the fresh produce and food essentials that are distributed to them every month.
CAPK of Kern is also an important partner as they donate canned and dried foods. They also offer heavily discounted rates for the purchase of meats.
"When we get here at 5:30 am, cars are already lined up. We know this is helping families because so many of them show up. We can tell people really appreciate it, and that is what we want to see," Pastor Johnny Martinez said,
The church first hosted the farmer's market in 2021. Since then, the number of individuals served each month has reached about 1,200.
With each event, they are supporting many individuals that are unemployed, underemployed, disabled, elderly and on fixed incomes.
"This is helping them save their hard-earned money to use for other expenses like rent, gas and utilities," Martinez said. "Many people in our community are living check to check, and we help keep them afloat, especially in these tough economic times."
The church cares about the health of the community.
"That is why we give fresh fruits and vegetables," Martinez said.
He believes giving to the community is an extension of the message of Christ and points to the scripture found in the book of St. Matthew: "I was hungry, and you gave me food."
Along with the food they distribute, it is a chance to share biblical literature.
"We not only feed them but provide spiritual nourishment as well. We like to show them the love of Christ and that we are a church that cares for them."
Martinez said he feels he is fulfilling his mission as a Christian.
"I am carrying out the work God entrusted to me, and it gives me great satisfaction."
He shared that he loves it and that the church has the ability to hold such large events.
"We have the facility to do it, and it works perfectly for us with our church layout. We can keep the flow going accomodating heavy traffic."
The success of the events depends on the assistance of many volunteers.
"We couldn't do it without them, and we are always looking for more."
Martinez said this is an excellent opportunity for youth that want to earn community service credits.
The farmer's markets are held on the fourth Thursday of every month from 8 to 10 a.m. at the church, 2150 Palm Ave. Because of the holidays, the next market is Jan. 19. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call Pastor Johnny Martinez at 661-301-5979.