The holiday season is in full swing and so is the holiday spirit of giving to those in need in Kings County.
Local nonprofit organizations such as the Lemoore Christian Aid, Kings Community Action Organization (KCAO) and St. Vincent de Paul Center in Hanford are lining up their donations in an effort to make the holiday season more enjoyable for families in need.
Lemoore Christian Aid Director John Benton said lately they have been getting donations from private parties, schools and local services clubs in Lemoore.
“We are extremely grateful for the support of the community,” he said. “We just appreciate their faithfulness.”
Benton said people generally tend to donate holiday specific items this time of year, such as chicken broth, vegetables and other nonperishable items. He added that people also donate money, which is always helpful, especially when it comes to purchasing items the nonprofit specifically needs.
Earlier this month, volunteers packed 200 boxes of food to give to families in the community. Benton said the nonprofit handed out a handful of boxes to Lemoore schools this past week and will give the rest to families in December when the Lemoore Police Department hands out toys for its Presents on Patrol program.
Benton said the nonprofit also partners with the Lemoore PG&E office to do a coat drive for kids around this time of year.
“There are a lot of children who do not have coats,” he said.
In Hanford, the Kings Community Action Organization is also conducting a coat drive for kids.
“We are looking for new coats that will fit preschool age children,” said KCAO Executive Director Jeff Garner.
Garner said the organization is partnering with Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, for the coat drive and will hand the jackets out at two of its preschool sites.
For the holiday season, Garner said the nonprofit is also looking for nonperishable items for their food program, hygiene products for women and children in its shelter and products for infants like diapers and formula. The nonprofit is also looking for monetary donations.
“Funding is always a big help too because that allows us to go out and expand our services,” he said.
Garner added that monetary donations to the KCAO are tax deductible.
Debra Wood, KCAO Nutrition, Education and Hunger Prevention director, said the organization will be distributing 500 boxes filled with food on Saturday to families who are in need. She added the boxes are geared toward a Thanksgiving dinner.
“In the Central Valley, we have such a huge amount of food insecurity,” she said. “We are just trying to make a difference.”
Over at St. Vincent de Paul Center in Hanford, director Rosie Cervantes said the organization distributed its Thanksgiving baskets filled with food to families on Thursday.
She said any donations they receive from now on will go to help families at Christmas time.
She said they are in need of monetary donations, chicken and nonperishable items such as rice, beans, dressing, canned fruit and cereal to feed families.
“Our real need right now is cereal,” she said. “Any type of cereal donated would be awesome.”