During the Thanksgiving Holiday, across and around South Los Angeles, people came together in the name of giving to bring the holidays and other needs to surrounding communities. Local businesses, churches, organizations, city officials, celebrities and community members all hosted separate Thanksgiving giveaways. Thanksgiving was celebrated throughout South L.A. this year thanks to these efforts.

On Sunday, November 19, Kinecta Credit Union and Nix celebrated 44 years as they partnered once again with local organizations to identify and provide low-income families with much needed assistance during the holidays. Since the beginning of the year, Nix branches collected donations, so that members and customers can help support their communities.

“We’re giving away gift bags and $75 gift certificates to Foods 4 Less or Ralphs,” said vice president of Nix Check Cashing, Ricky Floyd.

Kinecta and Nix’s 44th Annual Holiday Food Drive was held at Jesse Owens Park Gymnasium in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 19, and served 1,000 local families in need. Courtesy Photo

“Our employees started in January,” said Floyd. “The money that we raised comes from our employees, who go out in the community, they hold bake sales, they do different things in our offices to raise money and it’s all for a good cause—it goes to our foundation where we give this money back to the families in need.”

On Sunday, United Christian Missionary Baptist Church (U.C.M.B. C.) also celebrated a day of fellowship during its 5th annual pre-Thanksgiving Community Day event for local residents, businesses, and undeserved families.

This year, the church partnered with the Stop the Violence Increase the Peace Foundation, and sponsors New Outlook Center (NOC), Emerging Leaders Academy, Ground Up Auto Restoration, Aveeno, Authentic Youth Outreach (A.Y.O), Expresso Printing, Forever Young Fitness, A.C. Motoring, SPS, Pirate GVNG Radio, Port of LA/ Loneshoremen, G.I.F.T.E.D. Living Foundation, Marty’s Party Supply, Helping Other People Excel (H.O.P.E.), and the Los Angeles Wellness Station to provide community members with health screenings, flu shots, and dental kits, as well as a clothing drive.

“This is something that I always had a dream and desire to do, to be a blessing on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and during the holiday season because I know that’s the time when people are really going through things,” said Senior Pastor of U.C.M.B.C. Nathaniel Haley. Photo by Kimberlee Buck

“I have a heart for the people, part of my vision for this church is to be a blessing to the neighborhood and the community.”

Residents were also offered free hot plates of traditional Thanksgiving food including mash potatoes, dressing, turkey, and macaroni and cheese, and much more, all made from scratch and love by U.C.M.B.C. Outreach Coordinator and event host Renesha Traylor.
During the event, local health provider representatives provided HIV testing, blood pressure tests, and discussed the importance of scheduling follow appointments with their primary care provider or a local physician.

With the help of its sponsors and volunteers from local business, agencies, and organizations like Black Women Lawyers, the church and Stop the Violence were able to provide community resources and hot meals to over 400 people, 100 more from last year.
Later that day, members from the church, youth from A.Y.O., and many others headed out to pass out over 200 plates to homeless people in the neighborhood.

Also, on Sunday, at Brenda Marsh-Mitchell Square, on the corner of Crenshaw Blvd and Coliseum, Mitchell Lyons, a Dorsey High Alum and Kayveon Munir, a Crenshaw High Alum, held their first turkey giveaway event. The two friends decided they were going to do something they always wanted to do for their community—give back.

“It was just time to give back,” said Munir and Lyons.

“We always wanted to do something like this since high school,” said Munir. “We finally had the opportunity to do it.”

(Left-to-Right): Mitchell Lyons and Kayveon Munir                                          Photo by Brian W. Carter

Munir currently is an independent, personal chef and Lyons is a UCLA graduate and business owner. They’ve known each other for 15 years through youth football and come from big families, which have integrated into one big family. Along with giving away turkeys, they also had side dishes needed to help make your holiday more enjoyable. They met their goal and gave away 120 turkeys in less than an hour.

“We love our community, we grew up in this area, we just want to give back to our people—everybody deserves a good Thanksgiving,” said Munir

“We’re just here to give it.”

“This is the first of many,” said Mitchell. “We got more coming.”

Jordan Clarkson and his JC Cares Foundation celebrated their second year of bringing Thanksgiving to the community. Courtesy of Youtube

On Monday, November 20, Jordan Clarkson and his JC Cares Foundation joined the Los Angeles Lakers and East West Bank at a Thanksgiving food distribution for 325 needy families served by the Salvation Army of Inglewood. This is the second event of 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. Turkeys for the event were provided by Food Finders. This distribution is a continuation of the Salvation Army of Inglewood Citadel Corps’ annual Miracle on Manchester giveaway.

That same day, Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) held his own Thanksgiving turkey drive at El Camino College. Senator Bradford with the help of representatives from various churches, nonprofit groups and constituents from Senate District 35 distributed approximately 1,000 families in the area a turkey for the holidays. Turkeys were distributed to El Camino College’s EOPS, CARE and CalWORKs programs; P.S. I Love You Foundation; A New Way of Life; Calvary Baptist Church; Carson Women’s Club; Friends Outside in Los Angeles County; Food For Thought; Gardena Chamber of Commerce; Justice for Murdered Children; and Northeast Community Clinics.

Jackson Limousine Service turkey giveaways were known for their blocks long lines. Courtesy Photo

On Tuesday, November 21, Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson, Jr., along with Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Curren Price named the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Hillcrest Drive in honor of late businessman, E.J. Jackson, who passed away a year ago. The intersection marks the entrance of Jackson Limousine Service, Jackson’s longtime business and site of his annual turkey giveaway. Ellsworth ‘E.J.’ Jackson Square will commemorate over three decades Jackson and his foundation provided free Thanksgiving dinners to local residents.

After the square dedication ceremony, Wesson, Harris-Dawson, and Price distributed approximately 10,000 turkeys to seniors, veterans, and disabled members of the community. Each recipient also received non-perishable food items, fresh fruits and vegetables to complete their holiday meals.

On Thanksgiving Day, dozens of volunteers came together at Compton College to help assemble over 10,000 holiday dinners that were distributed throughout Southern California from Compton to San Diego. Now in its 5th year, the West Coast Mozel Sanders Thanksgiving Dinner provided traditional Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless, elderly, sick and working class families who can’t afford to buy the groceries to make Thanksgiving dinner, students who can’t get home and anyone else in need of a meal on the holiday. In addition to the many volunteers, local elected officials and other civic, political, and religious leaders in Compton assisted.

The event was sponsored in part by Toyota of Capistrano, Major League Baseball, Compton College and Western Baptist State Convention President Dr. Joe B. Hardwick.

Happy Holidays!!!