Hello Humankindness: 5 Independence High School students help homeless meet basic needs

What started out as a class project, is now something greater

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - What started out as a class project, is now something greater. A group of local high school students are reaching out to those in our community who are less fortunate.

A few miles down Highway 58, there's an open field that thousands of people drive past daily.

Tumbleweeds and dirt—but for some, it's home. And five seniors from Independence High School are helping those living in these forgotten parts of town.

"It's hard to see everyday people struggle like that," said Independence High School senior Roman Hinzo. 

As winter moves in and darkness dominates the sky for most of the day, living outside can be dismal. And being in the middle of the holiday season, loneliness can be even more difficult to bear.

"We overlook how privileged we really are to have a roof to sleep under, or be able to eat every night and have our family around us," said Hinzo. "A lot of people we talk to, they don't have anyone."

The five high school seniors deliver bags filled with various items like toilet paper, a water bottle, underwear and socks to the people who find refuge in the riverbeds and sumps. 

The idea started as a class project and at first, the goal was to get a good grade. But as they started to talk with the people they were helping, getting an "A" was not the focus anymore.

The class project is finished, but Ben Combs says there is still a lot of work left to do.

"It's a big issue but I think that a lot of us can do a lot to help," said Combs. "There are so many ways we can help these people."

The group says they plan on continuing giving these bags out and building relationships.

They hope what they do will inspire all of us to help anyone in our community, especially during the holiday season.   

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