Thanksgiving is right around the corner and a number of local food pantries are stepping up to ensure families hit hard financially by the pandemic will still have a turkey on the table this year.
The United Across Borders Foundation
Various organizations are holding special distributions for Thanksgiving in Orange County like the United Across Border Foundation who are distributing 2,000 turkeys and bags of groceries this weekend.
Erika Robles, the founder and president of the foundation, said this weekend’s distributions are a collaboration with Orange County Supervisor Doug Chafee who will be providing the turkeys. Each car will receive one turkey and a bag of groceries on a first come, first serve basis.
They will be holding a Thanksgiving distribution today in La Habra from 10 a.m. until supplies last. Tomorrow they will be in Anaheim starting at 9 a.m. and on Sunday they will be in Fullerton starting at 10 a.m. as well. Specific locations are listed below.
Robles said the thanksgiving distributions are important for families who are struggling financially at this time.
“This year has been crazy,” Robles said. “We want to have some resources for them and having a turkey, making sure that they’re going to have a meal — that is everything.”
The Power of One Foundation
The Power of One Foundation is also holding Thanksgiving distributions and will be handing out 4,000 turkeys into the community. Residents must have scheduled an appointment in advance to pick up the food and currently all appointments are booked.
Today, the Power of One Foundation is holding a turkey and food distribution for Disneyland Resort cast members from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Disney Employee Parking off of Harbor and Ball crossroads.
“We were contacted by a former cast member, and they were expressing how hard hit the cast members are and then every few weeks, there are more people let go,” said Andre Roberson, the president and executive director of the nonprofit. “They asked us to partner up with them to be able to do a food distribution to help their fellow cast members.”
Tomorrow, The nonprofit will be handing out turkeys at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. in partnership with Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris. Earlier this week they had a turkey distribution in Santa Ana at the Magnolia Science Academy.
Next week they will have a distribution specifically for Santa Ana College students. Students must register for the event beforehand.
Roberson said that now that the county has rolled back into the purple tier because of the pandemic, businesses will once again have to shut back down and people will receive furlough. He said because of the Coronavirus families might not get together for Thanksgiving.
“The least we can do is work our hardest everyday to make sure that there’s a Thanksgiving meal on every table that we can possibly touch,” Roberson said.
Public health officials have been warning residents to avoid or keep Thanksgiving gatherings small and outdoors as well as for residents to wear masks to avoid spread of the virus.
We Give Thanks & The OC Hunger Alliance
For over 30 years, the We Give Thanks non-profit, founded by Frank Garcia, a restaurant owner in Anaheim has been serving meals on Thanksgiving to people in need. For more than a decade, Garcia has partnered up with the Anaheim Ducks as well as Wells Fargo to hold the event at the Honda Center.
This year it will be a drive through distribution at the Honda Center from 9 a.m. to noon to serve meals and food boxes to about 7,000 families impacted financially by the pandemic.
We Give Thanks has partnered up with Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and Community Action Partnership of Orange County who will be providing 1,300 turkeys, 7,000 pies, 13,000 pounds of potatoes as well as 175,000 pounds of boxed food for the distribution.
Waste Not OC will be responsible for packaging and preparing the meals for about 28,000 people as well as recover excess food to be distributed by local food pantries.
“During the summer, the We Give Thanks team approached us and wanted to find out how they could rethink their event, because with social distancing, and just the way things are done today, their event wouldn’t be possible,” Harald Herrmann, the CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. “We’ve all stepped in to facilitate a modified version of what’s taking place for 33 years.”
Earlier this week Second Harvest, Community Action Partnership and Waste Not OC announced they will be combining forces to form the OC Hunger Alliance in an effort to end poverty in Orange County by first ending hunger.
“If food insecurity isn’t solved, then poverty, housing, social justice, health and education outcomes remain at risk, and these challenges will get even tougher on the other side of the pandemic as the economic fallout continues,” said Gregory C. Scott, the president and CEO of Community Action Partnership in a press release.
The food banks have seen the demand for food increase around 400% this year because of the increase in unemployment due to pandemic shutdowns. With Orange County back in the purple tier they expect those numbers to continue to spike.
OC Rescue Mission
The Orange County Rescue Mission, a Christian organization based in Tustin that houses and helps the homeless, is in need of food items like canned goods to help provide Thanksgiving dinner for homeless people and families in the county.
“Food donations across the country are at an all-time low at a time where we need them now more than ever,” said Jim Palmer, president of the organization in a news release sent out this week.
“Families throughout Orange County are struggling, we are seeing increases in homelessness, and many more are experiencing food insecurity,” Palmer said.
According to Feeding America, a nonprofit network of food banks across the country, over 35 million people were food insecure in the U.S. prior to the pandemic. The organization estimates that number could rise to over 50 million people this year including 17 million children.
For months now local food banks and pantries, with help from their partnerships, have been working endlessly to ensure people devastated financially by the pandemic have food on their table.
Hermann said he can’t think of anything more important than to start his Thanksgiving with his family feeding others before they feed themselves.
“There are a lot of individuals in this county that are still newly vulnerable, looking for work, you know, trying to figure out how to make ends meet and now more than ever, we’re humbled to be able to be of service on Thanksgiving to provide food to those families,” he said.
For anybody in need of food, pantries across Orange County are handing it out for free. For more food assistance options visit 211 OC.
Places to Volunteer & Distributions
Those who wish to volunteer or donate may reach out to them through the channels listed below.
Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner
Tuesday Nov. 24 from 9:40 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. at Irvine Civic Center for residents in the third district.
1 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606
Turkey Giveaway on Friday Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. until supplies last in La Habra
101 West La Habra Boulevard La Habra, CA 90631
Turkey Giveaway on Saturday Nov. 21 from 9 a.m. until supplies last in Anaheim
1151 North Anaheim Blvd., CA 92805
Turkey Giveaway on Sunday Nov. 22 from 10 a.m. until supplies last in Fullerton
303 W Commonwealth Ave Fullerton
Thursday Nov. 26 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
2695 East Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806 (Distribution is off Douglass Road; follow directional signs)
To donate contact Nancy Palmer at [email protected] or visit www.rescuemission.org/urgent-thanksgiving-food-needs/.
Saturday Nov. 21 from 8:30-11 a.m. or until supplies last at the Gurudwara
2530 Warner Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92704
714 584 7573
Every Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-10:30 a.m. (Closed 11/26)
20652 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
949 497 7121
Monday from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. at SALK Elementary
1411 Gilbert St. Anaheim, CA 92804
Wednesday & Thursday from 9-11 a.m. at the Vineyard Anaheim Church
5340 E La Palma Ave. Anaheim, CA 92807 (Closed 11/26)
Saturday from 9-11 a.m. at the Brookhurst Community Center
2271 Crescent Ave. Anaheim, CA 92801
Friday Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. at Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove.
9752 13th street, Garden Grove, CA 92844
Those who wish to volunteer with the organization can reach out to them on Facebook or at 714 399-4571.
If you operate a drive through food pantry in Orange County and would like our newsroom to be aware of your efforts, reach out to Hosam Elattar at [email protected] or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him @[email protected] or on Twitter @ElattarHosam