Bakersfield woman who helps feed the homeless is now homeless herself

Belinda Lopez Rickett helps make burritos for the Bakersfield Burrito Project on Sunday, July 15, 2018. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Homelessness in Kern County has risen 9 percent in the past year, and there are currently an estimated 885 homeless people living throughout the county, according to the Kern County Homeless Collaborative.

As the number has steadily risen, the gap between the advocates and those in need is shrinking. This is personified in Belinda Lopez Rickett, the founder of the Bakersfield Burrito Project.

Lopez Rickett has been homeless twice before but got back onto her feet and consequentially founded the Bakersfield Burrito Project nine years ago.

The project is a nonprofit endeavor that helps to feed the homeless by giving them burritos once a week.

“We try to fill a gap that our community needs,” Lopez Rickett said.

But, now, the woman who has been helping to feed the homeless around Bakersfield for almost a decade is again homeless herself after her landlord decided that he no longer wanted to rent out the home she and her family were living in.

Thanks to resources and help available through Kern County, Lopez Rickett and her family are currently staying in a motel.

“We’re there until Monday, and then we start a whole new process of trying to maintain where we’re at while searching for a new place,” Lopez Rickett said.

So, for now, her battle continues.

In the meantime, Lopez Rickett said that she wants people to remember that homelessness can happen to anyone at the snap of a finger.

“You are one natural disaster away from being homeless," she said. "You are one paycheck away from being homeless. It depends on what your situation is.”

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