Mothers In Action and volunteers are just one of many organizations bringing Thanksgiving to deserving families in South L.A.
Mothers In Action and volunteers are just one of many organizations bringing Thanksgiving to deserving families in South L.A. Sentinel File Photo

It’s Thanksgiving, which means: a turkey dinner will all the trimmings, family, friends and guests gathered around a table. Though many are fortunate to participate in the festivities of the holiday, an equal amount are not. This year, elected officials, celebrities, athletes, multiple organizations and the community are bringing Thanksgiving to countless South Los Angeles families.

On November 20, Kinecta Federal Credit Union & Nix Neighborhood Lending celebrated their 43rd annual food drive & partnership with community to serve 1,000 deserving local families. The program began with a brief program featuring elected officials and special guests followed by a certificate and food distribution to selected families. State Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-64); nationally recognized Watts community activist “Sweet” Alice Harris; City of Hawthorne Mayor Pro Tem Angie Reyes-English; representatives of Kinecta Federal Credit Union, Nix Neighborhood Lending; MoneyGram, and more than 40 community-based and faith-based nonprofit organizations participated in the event.

“We are extremely proud to carry on this tradition of helping to provide holiday meals to deserving local families, especially during challenging economic times,” said Keith Sultemeier, President and CEO, Kinecta Federal Credit Union. “The Food Drive brings our employees and partners together to give back to communities where our members, customers and employees live, work and worship.”

For 43 years, Kinecta Federal Credit Union and Nix Neighborhood Lending have partnered with community and faith-based organizations throughout Los Angeles County to identify and provide low-income families with much needed assistance during the holidays.

On November 21, Jordan Clarkson and his JC Cares Foundation joined the LA Lakers and East West Bank at a Thanksgiving food distribution for 325 needy families served by the Salvation Army of Inglewood.

This distribution is a continuation of the Salvation Army of Inglewood Citadel Corps’ annual Miracle on Manchester giveaway. This is the second event in the Lakers annual “A Season of Giving” presented by East West Bank, a series of events that allow the Lakers and their fans to share in the joy of the holiday season. Special thanks to Food Finders for their work in sourcing and delivering the turkeys.

Since 2000, the Lakers have used “A Season of Giving” to assist thousands of children and adults. This year’s events included the Thanksgiving Feast, a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway, and a holiday party for kids which included a Winter Wonderland with sledding in a park.

On November 22, Senator Isadore Hall, III (D- South Bay), Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, Radio Free KJLH 102.3 and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. provided thousands of turkeys to families in need as part of the 35th Senate District’s “12th Annual Healthy Family Update and Turkey Giveaway”.

Now in its twelfth year, the “Healthy Family Update and Turkey Giveaway” is a multi-prong philanthropic collaboration between Hall, local officials and community leaders committed to reducing incidents of obesity and diabetes in underserved communities, discussing legislative issues affecting the community and promoting healthier lifestyles for children and families.

KJLH Radio broadcasted live with Senator Hall during the event. Additionally, free diabetes, HIV testing, blood pressure and BMI health screenings were available to residents. Guest speakers provided information about hypertension, obesity, diabetes and kidney care, as well as healthy eating tips to make it through the holidays.

Also on November 22, reality TV preacher Bishop Noel Jones, Chef Loretta Jones and volunteers from City of Refuge Church hosted the 12th annual free community-wide Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings.

Bishop Jones led the meal with a Prayer of Thanks before joining the Board of Deacons for a ceremonial turkey carving. He cited a particularly relevant Scripture reference from 2 Corinthians 4:15: “All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory…”

The event was catered by Chef Loretta Jones who says, “It’s truly a blessing to serve God by serving the community.”

A turkey dinner with all the trimmings will be on the table of many thanks to time and love donated by people who care this year. Courtesy Photo
A turkey dinner with all the trimmings will be on the table of many thanks to time and love donated by people who care this year. Courtesy Photo

Known throughout the city for his successful transportation operation, E.J Jackson of Jackson Limousines was also known for distributing Thanksgiving dinners to thousands of SoCal residents every year. Jackson’s turkey giveaways would have lines that were mind-boggling and went on for blocks. Jackson passed away earlier this month leaving many stunned by his sudden death from a heart attack.

Speaking on behalf of his family, Jackson’s son declared at his father’s funeral, “Today, we are celebrating the life of a hero. God is not done using our father!” He and the family, through the E.J. Jackson Foundation, conducted this year’s turkey giveaway on Nov. 22.

Mayor Aja Brown hosted the 3rd Annual Compton Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday, November 23 from noon until 4 p.m. at the Douglas F. Dollarhide Community Center located at 301 N. Tamarind Ave. Sponsored by rapper YG’s 4HundredWaze Foundation and Master P, the event is free and open to the public. This event is first come, first served, public transportation and early arrival is suggested. Special celebrity guests are expected to volunteer and attend.

Mothers In Action will continue the longstanding tradition bringing Thanksgiving to the Ward Villa Senior Apartment Complex on November 24. Both the late Brenda Marsh Mitchell and Lillian Mobley started the tradition in 1995 to give seniors a holiday meal during a time when many are forgotten. Tracy Mitchell, president of Mothers In Action, keeps the annual event going.

“We are so grateful for all the donors, volunteers, organizations and politicians that help make this event a reality,” said Mitchell.

Bishop Leon and Dr. Jacqueline Martin and the Love, Peace and Happiness Church family will hold their Annual Thanksgiving Day Celebration on Thursday, November 24, at 11 a.m. The one-hour celebration will be held at the LPH location at 4951 S. Figueroa St. in Los Angeles. Music will be provided by the Mass Choir and all attendees will receive a bottle of anointed oil.

“Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks and sharing. We invite the public to attend regardless of your church affiliation,” said Bishop Martin, who will deliver the sermon during the service.

On Friday, November 25, 8am to 12:30pm, Los Angles Councilmember Jose Huizar, Pasadena Councilmembers Victor Gordo and John Kennedy, and Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson will be joined by labor leaders and several hundred working men, women and their families to serve at the largest community service event this Thanksgiving, The Great Day of Service.

The Great Day of Service will support hundreds of senior citizens, veterans, youth, low-income families and the homeless at three separate work sites: in Los Angeles at 1st St. Elementary School located at 2820 E. 1st St.; in Long Beach at Houghton Park located at 6301 Myrtle Ave.; and in Pasadena at Orange Grove Blvd. (street closure from Marengo Ave. to N. Los Robles). Together, The Salvation Army, IBEW Local 11, IBEW Local 18, National Association of Electrical Contractors (NECA), LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council and Working Californians will provide critical services to the community in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!