Thanksgiving food for the community by the community

Valley residents join forces to help feed fellow Angelenos that are struggling economically.

By Annette M. Lesure, Staff Writer

Events across Los Angeles give free meals throughout the month of November. (Graphic Illustration by Matthew Royer/ Valley Star)

Valley community outreach services help underprivileged residents by providing Thanksgiving meals.


As the holiday approaches, Angelenos continue to battle lack of income and homelessness. Several Valley organizations are supplying food and supplies for community members and operate because of the locals that donate time and money with others in need.


Valley College created the Helping Hands Project (HHP) to help students facing food and housing insecurities. The HHP team gathers food from Mend Foodbank and donations received from community members to distribute the items to different areas around campus.


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, HHP will provide students with a $50 grocery gift card in lieu of serving Thanksgiving meals. Students can apply online under the CalWorks tab on Valley’s website.


"The Helping Hands community is made up of about 40 people," said Ellie Rabani, CalWorks director and Valley alumnus. “It's the neighbors who live around our campus that provide us with money and give us monthly donations. Staff and faculty donate money from their paychecks into this fund so we can give [students] what they need."


The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission will host Thanksgiving for its 21st year on Saturday, Nov. 20. Partnering with Iglesia Poder de Dios, the drive-thru food distribution will be at 18825 Saticoy Street, in Reseda.


The Mission will provide up to 700 families with groceries to make a Thanksgiving meal. Volunteers will also deliver over 500 hot meals to people living in motel rooms across Los Angeles. In addition, the non-profit organization will team up with the Hope Center in East LA, a community outreach that provides showers and food to the homeless in the SFV and East Hollywood.


First Valley Christian Church will host a Thanksgiving Day feast on Sun. Nov. 21 at 12:30 pm at North Hollywood Park. The organization receives donations from community members and parishioners. This year, volunteers picked up seven large turkeys donated from Vons that will be cooked with help from church members, Uncle Andre's BBQ, AJ's Tex-Mex Barbecue, Dr. Hogley Wogly's. The North Hollywood Church of Religious Science's The Love and Kindness Ministry will be providing blankets to attendees.


"We always cook for 100 people and if they don't show up, I take the food to St. Matthews, who has an outreach program every week that serves breakfast and lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays," said Human Needs Ministry director Deborah Luster. "We put on meals that we would serve our own families. We serve a real Thanksgiving meal; nothing is processed, everything is homemade."


Visit FreeFood.org for a listing of Los Angeles food banks serving communities weekly.