Thanksgiving is always a time to be thankful for what we have, and it is also a time to give to those who may not be as fortunate.

Local nonprofit organizations such as the St. Vincent de Paul Center and Kings Community Action Organization and other volunteers are lining up their donations in an effort to make the holiday season more enjoyable for families and individuals in need.

Alice Roberts, the office volunteer coordinator for St. Vincent de Paul Center, said the organization distributed its Thanksgiving baskets filled with food to families on Thursday and delivered a few extra baskets on Friday as well.

Right now, Roberts said the center is taking monetary donations to help purchase a variety of items and is also accepting food and clean and new clothing. She said she’s glad there are so many local organizations that will help feed and clothe those in need.

“There are so many people in our community who are in need,” Roberts said. “You never know when a person can lose a job or lose their home in a fire.”

Roberts said even if people can’t give monetarily, they can always volunteer their time because even just a few hours a week is helpful. All she asks of the community is to remember those who need the help.

“I just think about how I would want someone to treat me,” Roberts said. “If we can alleviate the situation for someone else, we should.”

She also encourages parents to teach their kids the value of giving to charities; she said it could be as easy as donating toys they no longer use to the center so families can come and pick some out for their children.

Roberts said the center is also a location where families can sign up children for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program.

Jeff Garner, executive director for Kings Community Action Organization, said during the months of November and December the organization has a big need for new coats, clothes and toys that benefit preschool children and families at the Barbara Saville Women’s Shelter.

KCAO also has a food bank that always welcomes food and monetary donations, Garner said. He said the organization relies heavily on what they get from the community because the need is always there.

“We are able to do a lot of good things with the food bank donations,” Garner said. “We are able to use the cash to provide food resources throughout the entire year.”

This year, Garner said KCAO is even having a movie night at the Hanford Fox Theater on Dec. 2 that will benefit the food bank and promises a fun night for the whole family.

Walt Kendall is part of a group of volunteers who have been providing free Thanksgiving meals at the Lemoore Senior Center and delivering meals to shut-ins all over Kings County for the past 16 years.

Kendall said around 100 people usually volunteer and the group purchases and prepares all the food, which includes all the Thanksgiving staples like turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls, green beans and pumpkin pie.

An endeavor like this is no easy feat and Kendall said the dinner has relied on donations from individuals, churches and organizations for the $12,000 cost.

“This is a good way to give to those without a place to go,” Kendall said.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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