Volunteers Hand Out 2,800 Turkey Dinners

By Matt Thacker on Nov. 19, 2013
news@postperiodical.com

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander hands out turkey dinners at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Granada Hills on Monday. [
Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander greets a family who waited in line for a Thanksgiving dinner at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Granada Hills on Monday. [Matt Thacker | Post-Periodical]
The North Valley Family YMCA in Porter Ranch plans to provide thousands of San Fernando Valley families with turkey dinners in time for Thanksgiving this year.

On Monday, families in need stood in line at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Granada Hills to pick up their baskets. Each family received a frozen turkey and other side items to make a full Thanksgiving meal.

“It gives a holiday meal for them to have which they would not be able to afford,” said Maithili Patil, chair of the Thanksgiving baskets program.

Organizers raised more than $36,000 and purchased 2,800 turkeys – their most ever. Most of the canned goods were donated, and Patil’s husband provided the produce. Walmart was a major contributor.

Turkey dinner provided by the North Valley Family YMCA.
Turkey dinner provided by the North Valley Family YMCA.

“This is one of the biggest Thanksgiving turkey distributions in the entire City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Mitch Englander, who helped pass out baskets on Monday. “It shows how the people in the community have stepped up to help other people in this community.”

Local YMCA Executive Director Jane Stanton said they work with 27 school principals and 11 youth groups to distribute baskets to families in need.

“This is a very passionate project for both Maithili and I to be able to give back,” Stanton said.

Six years, they decided to serve 50 baskets to poor families in the area. That number has grown substantially each year. Approximately 500 volunteers helped with the operation this year.

Patil said there was one especially touching moment this year when someone who received a basket from them two yeas ago came back as a volunteer rather than a recipient. Patil said what she enjoys most is giving to the children.

“I like to see their joy,” she said.