‘A really big help’: Hundreds receive Thanksgiving turkeys at food pantry giveaway in Livermore

Blanca Alvarez’s 12-year-old son Andres has been worried his family won’t have a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

He loves when friends and relatives come together for the occasion and was deflated to learn his parents were unsure they could afford the traditional holiday meal.

“The situation right now is very difficult,” his mother explained. “A lot of people don’t have money to spend on food, for kids, for everything.”

But Andres no longer has to fret.

Early Saturday morning, Alvarez, along with hundreds of other Alameda County residents, lined up outside St. Michael Catholic Church in Livermore to pick up donations of turkeys, boxed stuffing mix, canned cranberry sauce and other Thanksgiving fare.

In all, the church served about 1,320 people during the food pantry giveaway, organizers said.

“There’s people in need, and we need to share whatever wealth we have with them because we’re all in this world together,” said Andrea McCarthy, a longtime church member, one of the dozens volunteering at the special holiday giveaway.

The parish bought the turkeys, chickens and cornish game hens while the Alameda County Food Bank provided much of the rest, including canned goods and produce boxes with celery, cantaloupe and apples. Students with St. Michael School also held a food drive.

The church group started the weekly food pantry early in the pandemic when thousands of local residents lost their jobs and had few places to turn. At the first giveaway, volunteers came with about 20 filled grocery bags, but more than 200 people showed up.

“We’re going to need a bigger boat,” organizer Tina Gregory remembered thinking.

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Even as the food pantry has grown, meeting the growing need remains a challenge. Food bank donations have declined since the pandemic, and rising food prices continue to squeeze many low-income families.

“We can always use volunteers, and we can always use donations because we purchase most of the protein,” said Mary Burton, community care administrator with St. Michael.

Stephanie Molina came to the giveaway with her mother, Maria, and her 7-month-old daughter, Camila. They gathered a whole chicken, produce boxes and small cartons of chocolate milk before joining in prayer with parish members.

“This is a really big help because everything is expensive …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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