Hundreds of Santa Clarita Valley residents typically break bread together to celebrate Thanksgiving at the Newhall Community Center. The annual dinner was canceled this year, but residents did not go home empty-handed.
With ongoing COVID-19 restrictions that prevent large gatherings, among other safety measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, the city of Santa Clarita and Parkway Motors organized a drive-thru event for families to pick up special holiday tote bags.
“We’ve partnered with Parkway Motors to bring the Thanksgiving dinner for the last 13 years, but unfortunately, we’re not able to have it this year because of COVID-19,” said Cynthia Muri, supervisor of the Newhall Community Center, where the drive-thru event was held.
A total of 100 tote bags were assembled, half of which were distributed at the Newhall Community Center and the remaining are scheduled to be handed out at the Canyon Country Community Center on Flying Tiger Drive.
Each bag contains donated food, goods, family-friendly activities and Thanksgiving-themed crafts.
For Saugus resident and mother Angie Hsieh, said the activities will be of huge help for her children.
“The holidays are coming up and we’ve been stuck at home since March because of the pandemic,” she said. “So, after school they’re bored and they can’t really go anywhere, so it’s nice to have something for them to enjoy at home.”
Others looked forward to celebrating amongst members of the community but expressed gratitude for the efforts put together this year despite the challenges. Among them was Jocelyn Gonzalez and her mother Maria.
“It’s just really nice to see that they’re still putting something together for the community,” said Jocelyn.
For officials with Parkway Motors, who brought out a giant penguin mascot during the drive-thru event for the kids, it was the smiles in families.
“It’s great to be here, even though it looks a little different this year, and make people smile, especially during this hard time,” said Jessica Bakshi, with Parkway Motors.