A group of volunteers are hard at work in kitchens across the Santa Clarita Valley and Los Angeles County this week preparing nearly 1,200 turkeys and hams for locals in need.
The 6th annual Thankful Giving event recruits residents to donate their time, finances, cooking skills and oven space to provide a Thanksgiving meal for people that cannot get their own in the SCV, the Antelope Valley, Skid Row and the Midnight Mission.
President of Kokolita’s Martha Aguilera spearheads the effort to help those who are homeless, low-income, single parents, victims of domestic violence, in women’s or children’s shelters and first responders.
“What we really wanted to do was let people know that they matter,” Aguilera said. “There’s something so comforting about having a home cooked meal on a holiday. I wanted to put on other people’s tables what I would put on my own.”
Since the effort started, it grew from 100 meals the first year to 500 the second, 750 the third and 1,000 the fourth and fifth year.
Each meal costs about $7 to make, which Aguilera usually pays for out of pocket. Even with donations, she still expects to pay more than half of that herself this year.
For the first year, local nonprofit feedSCV has gotten involved to help recruit volunteers and ask for donations.
“It’s a great tradition helping to make sure the spirit of the holiday is brought to everyone,” feedSCV cofounder Todd Wilson said.
With the nonprofit’s help, Thankful Giving has garnered support from over 100 volunteers and has raised over $1,300. Forever 21 even donated 70 turkeys to the cause.
“We’re really looking forward to bringing a good, homestyle meal to people in Santa Clarita,” Wilson said. “feedSCV works to provide everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley with the knowledge and resources to have a delicious and healthy meal at home every day, and that includes Thanksgiving.”
For those who would like to contribute to the effort, the group is looking for people willing to lend their oven space Wednesday night and Thursday morning to roast already prepared turkeys and hams.
Additionally, community members can still donate turkeys, hams and funds.
Turkeys and hams should be brought to Kokolita’s at 24623 Arch Street in Newhall.