Castaic Community Church members sings spiritual songs for the holiday season at the 2nd annual Castaic Community Thanksgiving event for families in need hosted at the Castaic Sports Complex Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. Gilbert BernalThe Signal

Castaic hosts second annual Thanksgiving dinner

The Castaic community came together to celebrate Thanksgiving on Sunday.

Through a partnership of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, North County Community Services Agency and Castaic Community Church, the community gathered for dinner, free of charge, at the Castaic Sports Complex.

“We’re working together to make it happen,” said Natalie Vartanian, recreation services supervisor at the complex. “We provide the event space to make it happen, and the church does a lot of the donations, all the planning that went into this event, advertising and recruiting, so it’s a wonderful partnership.”

Castaic Community Church, The City of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation extended a hand this holiday season for the 2nd annual Castaic Community Thanksgiving event for families in need hosted at the Castaic Sports Complex Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. Gilbert BernalThe Signal

This is the second annual dinner, which garnered twice as much attendance as the first, and event organizers said they hope it continues to grow in the years to come.

In addition to dinner, the event included a clothing drive for those in need.

“We just want to serve the community because we know it’s hard to live here with all the expenses in California, so that’s why we wanted to give out free clothes and free food and just support the community we live in,” volunteer Kaylee Richard said. “It makes you feel amazing. I love doing this.”

(left to right) Lauren Park, Carsyn Crone, and Kaylee Richard with Castaic Community Church assisted attendees at the 2nd annual Castaic Community Thanksgiving event for families in need hosted at the Castaic Sports Complex Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. Gilbert BernalThe Signal

Last year, they only had three weeks to prep, but this year, volunteers worked to put the event together months in advance, organizing the clothes, prepping the food, then serving the food.

“There’s actually a lot of work that goes into it before any of this happens,” said Bart Manning, event coordinator. “There are a lot of people in the community that made this event happen, and it’s a great turnout.”

“We also have a number of people that just want to build relationships, so they’re sitting at the tables right now, just talking to people in the community and building friendships with them,” Pastor John Richard added. “If we can minister to any and everybody in this community, whether through food, clothing and even just if they are coming for friendships, we love to do that.”

Gilbert Bernal contributed to this report.

Castaic Community Church members sings spiritual songs for the holiday season at the 2nd annual Castaic Community Thanksgiving event for families in need hosted at the Castaic Sports Complex Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. Gilbert BernalThe Signal

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