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Giving Thanks Ahead of Thanksgiving PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia   
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 03:35

ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

Dozens of people gave thanks Monday, Nov. 19, as they received turkeys and all the trimmings for a typical Thanksgiving dinner that otherwise would have been out of reach for them.

"This is a blessing," said Yolanda Pacheco, 62, as she waited to receive the food at Lutheran Social Services of Southern California (LSSC) in Van Nuys. The food bank was able to give close to 200 turkeys to families.

"This is very good for us seniors who are going through a crisis," added Pacheco.

ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

Until about two years ago, Pacheco was a chef at a hotel in Colorado and things were going well for her, she said.

"I came to California to make a better living, but I haven't been able to get a job," Pacheco said.

She currently visits the food bank once a month.

"This helps. It doesn't solve everything, but it does help," she said.

Maria Ceja was also thankful. She has cancer, and takes care of a couple of grandkids and her own son.

"This is only for a day and maybe for leftovers the next," Ceja said. "It's not much, but at least we have for Thanksgiving."

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a 10- serving Thanksgiving meal costs about $49.48 this year, up about 28 cents from last year.

Much of that goes to pay for the bird, about $22.23 for a 16- pound turkey. Add bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, cranberries and pumpkin pie, and the bill goes up.

ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

That may not be a lot for family where two people are working, but it is more difficult when one is on a fixed income, or no income at all.

"I'm incapacitated and this is a big help," said Miguel Santillan who, along with wife Elba also received a turkey. "We thank the organizations who help because we do need it."

Jan Maseda, head of LSSC in Van Nuys, said they were able to get the turkeys thanks to donations from Boy and Girl Scouts units, local churches and other private organizations. "We pre-qualified everybody in August (for the turkeys)," Maseda said. "We wish we could give more, but we simply can't."

ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

Maseda said as the U.S. economic crisis has deepened in recent years, so have the lines of people looking for help.

"Right now we've had a lot of generous people donate to us. They did food drives for us, but come January, we'll be pretty empty again."

She noted, however, that donations have increased about 20 percent this year compared to last—a sign of an economic recovery—but still many people are still looking for help.

ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

The office of Los Angeles City councilmember Tony Cardenas distributed holiday meal baskets to about 950 families.

Cardenas partnered with parent center coordinators at different schools throughout his district, which nominated needy families.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 04:37
 






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