Over 300 locals broke bread together at The City of Santa Clarita’s 18th annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner on Monday evening at Newhall Community Center.
Santa Clarita residents of all ages, many of whom are participants in various activities at the Community Center and SCV Senior Center throughout the week, served and sat beside one another, sharing smiles over turkey and mashed potatoes.
“It’s our way of getting everyone under the same roof,” Community Services Supervisor Julie Calderon said.
Teenagers with the center’s iTeens program and city staff members served as hosts and clued attendees in about the services and events available to them throughout the year.
“This is a place they can come whenever they need anything,” she said.
Adriana Hernandez, a Community Center staff member, used to be one the students served by the center before working there herself.
After going to the center throughout her schooling, she joined the staff to give back to other children.
“I hope the children feel welcome and like they are part of a family,” Hernandez said.
Alongside his wife and mother, Julio Martinez was at the Community Center for the first time after his mother, who goes to Zumba class there, asked him to come with her. He said he would be glad to attend another of the center’s events in the future.
“It lets us bond and have a nice family dinner,” Martinez said.
Senior Center regular attendee Stella Parco has come to the annual dinner for several years and enjoys the opportunity it gives her to eat with loved ones.
“They have good food and good people,” Parco said.
Canyon High School senior DonMiguel White-Carrington has gone to the iTeens program for several years and was pleasantly surprised to go to the Community Center Monday night to see the event was taking place.
“I see a lot of old faces and new ones,” White-Carrington said. “I’m having a good time.”
Sisters Isabella and Natalia Calderon, a sophomore and freshman at Hart High School, have volunteered at the event for several years.
“It’s nice to see the smiles on everyone’s faces,” Isabella Calderon said. “It’s really great to give back to the community.”