Local

Help needed to offer Thanksgiving meals

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving dinner is a happy tradition in many households in the Central Valley. But for those less fortunate in these tough times that tradition becomes a question: "Will we have a Thanksgiving dinner?"

The answer is yes for some, thanks to the Community Food Bank in Fresno. But even its efforts won't meet the growing need without help. That's why volunteers and donations are so critically important.

Eight days before Thanksgiving inside the agency's warehouse the chatter of volunteers from Whole Foods in Fresno were hard at work helping to pack the holiday meal boxes that will be delivered to a host of churches and other organizations that will distribute them to families in need .

Alexa Popplewell understands how important these boxes of food are, "It just shows us the need existing in the valley so I will definitely do it personally but of course it's more fun as a team and gets things done a lot faster." She was part of a team of volunteering from Whole Foods.

For the past few years the Community Food Bank has reduced costs by offering a large chicken in place of the traditional turkey. Still the box has all the other thanksgiving ingredients that lead to a nourishing, hardy meal and a meaningful day for needy families to share. Unfortunately this year there will be fewer boxes to go around unless they get an influx of cash donations. Dayatra Latin, the agency's director of programs and development told us, "This year we're gonna distribute just over 13 thousand boxes for Thanksgiving. Last year we did just over 23-thousand holiday meal boxes. So we're gonna do about 10-thousand less because we have less resources available to us."

This year's 13-thousand boxes hold rice, beans, stuffing mix, canned goods and more ... along with the large chicken. But this holiday season the gift of money is what is most needed right now. Financial gifts, says Latin, would help increase the growing number of families in need to receive these boxes. A donation of just fifteen dollars through the Food Bank's website can fill a Thanksgiving box and there is still time for people to make a difference says Dayatra, "We still want families to be able to eat and sit down and have a meal together but I think as a community, it we just step up. And come together and everybody just gives a little bit, together it makes a lot, and we can make a huge impact in the community this holiday season."

The Community Food Bank website is the place to start if you'd like to join in helping those in need to enjoy what so many of us take for granted.

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fresno, fresno county, local, nancy osborne
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