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Giving back to families most in need before Thanksgiving

Victory Outreach gives away Thanksgiving groceries to hundreds of Bakersfield families
Posted at 11:25 PM, Nov 15, 2023
  • Video shows Thanksgiving groceries, families in need, and volunteers distributing food
  • One local mom struggles to pay for Thanksgiving groceries while dealing with an autoimmune disease, but Victory Outreach hopes to ease one burden for families in need with their annual turkey and Thanksgiving dinner giveaway on Wednesday night.

Hundreds of people lined up outside of victory outreach on Wednesday night, and it’s grocery bags like this that will make all the difference for families in need this Thanksgiving.
Braving the wind and cold, Theresa Gonzalez stood outside for close to two hours just for a Thanksgiving turkey.

“The prices of the food of the gas, it’s just so hard for us right now,” Gonzalez said.

She’s a single mom providing for her kids solely through welfare after doctors diagnosed her with lupus more than three years ago.

On top of that, in 2020, her daughter was diagnosed with a rare case of lupus, a brain tumor and fainting spells, preventing Gonzalez from working so she can take care of her daughter.

“To be sick and not be able to work, that’s the only thing I can fall to right now is that, and it kind of helps even though the prices of rent and the bills and stuff going high because of the economy right, it’s like it’s hard,” Gonzalez said.

It’s stories like this, Americans across the country relate to this holiday season.

“From the past 20 years, we’ve seen a multitude of people lined up,” associate pastor at Victory Outreach Bakersfield Armando Aceves said.

This year brings more people to Victory Outreach’s annual turkey and Thanksgiving dinner giveaway than in the past 20 years.

That’s why Aceves said the church held the event to meet the needs of the community.

“We love our community," He said. "We love our people, and we are here to support in a time of need right now because of everything that’s going up right now. Gas is up. Groceries are up.”

According to the Wells Fargo Consumer Thanksgiving report, traditional thanksgiving items like ham, potatoes and green beans are up compared to last year.

“Inflation’s been hitting our pocketbooks, especially at the grocery store now for over a year, and we’re not seeing anything letting up between now and the thanksgiving holiday," David Holt, the president of Consumer Energy Alliance said.

While items like turkey and cranberries are cheaper, it doesn’t eliminate the impacts on the community.

“People that are on fixed incomes, that are at poverty level have to make those hard decisions so those among us that are in that situation are the ones that are hurt the most,” Holt emphasized.

It's people like Theresa, willing to do whatever she can to make ends meet for her kids.

“If i have to do this for other things, then that’s what I’ll have to do, as long as I can see the smile on their face, I’m happy,” Gonzalez said.

Bakersfield North Rotary along with Standard School District volunteers, will distribute Thanksgiving baskets to North of the River families on Monday, November 20 at 8 a.m.

United Way of Kern will host their Thanksgiving dinnergiveaway on Tuesday, November 24 at Sunset Middle School.

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