Bags of Love Foundation: Local Charity for Children with Cancer

Aubrianna Martinez, Reporter

Bags of Love Foundation held a fundraiser via drive-in movie at the Sam Lynn ballpark in Bakersfield on Feb. 13th. Masked youth citizens with lanyards as staff scanned phones for ticket entry, directed traffic into neat rows of parking.

A concession stand was set up in the far right corner of the parking lot. The movie projected onto an inflatable screen starts an hour after the gates opened, giving people time to grab snacks and use the free popcorn vouchers the staffers were handing out. There are no technical difficulties, no public altercations, or issues between attendees, and the request on the screen for people to wear a mask when out of their car.

The Bags of Love Foundation was created by Julian Castaneda in 2019 from a nonprofit high school club at South High School that raised funds by selling food items during local sporting events the year prior. In 2019 Castaneda, who is also the president of the organization, shifted the club into an official nonprofit organization that according to the foundation’s website seeks to “help children battling cancer by giving them the love and hope that he received first hand by his family and friends.”

Castaneda was diagnosed with cancer at the age of ten and had to undergo a bone marrow transplant at sixteen. This affected his view of children who suffer from cancer for prolonged periods in hospitals, and he and his family created the Bags of Love Foundation that raises money to provide children with cancer packages with items for them to enjoy during and after their treatment, as well as scholarships for those affected by cancer.

Castaneda explained how the foundation has had to change its operating methods during the pandemic, he mentions they have held events over Twitch.

Castaneda described, “We were challenged to think differently to keep up with our fundraising efforts. We wanted to make sure we would still be able to still provide hope to children affected by cancer while also following all the required guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.”

The Bags of Love Foundation’s website home page says the following about their goal: “We take our convictions and turn them into positive actions”, watching Castaneda’s work come to fruition in real-time, this is undeniably coming true.