Once again it was the privilege of the Merced County Rescue Mission to coordinate the Community Thanksgiving Banquet. We were able to serve about 675 people and were blessed to have over 100 volunteers come bearing pies who generously gave their time and energy to help others. The American Legion once again hosted the event by making their facilities available. But this event goes far beyond what takes place on Thanksgiving Day. The involvement by individuals, organizations and clubs demonstrates the depth of care and the spirit of giving across our county and even our neighboring counties. I will not even attempt to name all the individuals who gave turkeys, supplies and money to make this event possible! We cannot thank you enough!
Perhaps by sharing some of the work and donations from organizations you will be able to catch a glimpse of the size of this endeavor and that it truly takes all of us working together to make a difference. We started receiving donations to help with this event in October. The Sunday before Thanksgiving the Mi Gente Motorcyle Club arrived at our office in force on about 50 motorcycles and with a U-Haul truck to bring us over 100 turkeys. On a daily basis turkeys, stuffing and canned goods arrived. Many needy families were given turkeys and food to make their Thanksgiving dinner at home while we put together the needed supplies for the Thanksgiving Day Banquet at the American Legion Hall. Aloha Floral and Valley Christian Church in Atwater received donations of stuffing on our behalf and the day before Thanksgiving, a club from Merced College picked up all the stuffing and spent the night preparing it. On Wednesday evening the Kiwanis Club arrived with students from three Merced High Schools to wash and wrap 400 pounds of potatoes and to prepare 100 turkeys. Later a club from U.C. Merced came and spend the night cooking the turkeys and potatoes. The Salvation Army collected rolls and pies, the McSwain 4H club brought potatoes, and Atwater Packing donated sweet potatoes. A group of faithful people from the Ponderosa Basin Church in Mariposa made their annual pilgrimage to decorate tables. Gary’s Rent a Can supplied portable toilets and LifeLine supplies their Bus Boutique to make clothing available. The Binational Health Week Committee came and made flu shots available to those attending the banquet.
Over 30 people from the Rescue Mission worked for weeks and also on the day of the event to insure that everything went smoothly. Thank you to everyone for your great efforts!