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GIVING BACK - Spreading the True Meaning of Thanksgiving in Delano

Director for the Soup Kitchen Ministries for the First Assembly of God Church Claribel Gutierrez coordinated the 25th year of donating Thanksgiving boxes to local families in need.
A glimpse of the hard work contributed by locals who felt the need to give back to their community this Thanksgiving holiday.
Posted at 12:08 AM, Nov 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-22 14:58:51-05
  • Video shows 100 boxez of Thanksgiving dinners coordinated by community activist Claribel Gutierrez.
  • This is the project's 25th year in the making, collecting 75 boxes last year and 100 boxes this year, Gutierrez says the goal is to collect 150 boxes next year.
  • Families will be receiving stuffing, celery, pumpkin pie, canned goods, and turkey donated by Max Bacerra.

Community activist and Director of the Soup Kitchen Ministries for the First Assembly of God Church Claribel Gutierrez showcasing the amount of donations given to her by various stakeholders and community members.

Gutierrez says it’s a project that been going on for the past 25 years and is continuing to grow.

“When we first started we only had like 10 boxes, cause we didn’t know,” said Gutierrez. “Last year we made 75 boxes and today were doing 100.”

With preparations for the donation drive starting two months ago, Gutierrez says she works closely with the local school districts to determine what families need assistance and soon after starts collecting items.

“I work with Amanda Garza she’s one of the power program after class [members] and contacting Rosalinda Rivera she allows us to seek those seeking that you know, every principle knows the families better so we try to reach out to them,” said Gutierrez.

Gutierrez says each box has all the ingredients to create a well balanced thanksgiving dinner. Working on gathering some of the smaller items like canned goods and stuffing — she says she is truly thankful for stakeholder Max Bacerra, Principle of Pacificus IV Company for providing the main portion of the dinner — the turkeys, with help from El Toro Loco Supermarkets and OM Management and Construction.

Bacerra, who was born and raised in Delano feels grateful to have the opportunity to give back to his community and wants to remind people of what thanksgiving is all about.

“Thanksgiving is a time to give back you know just look beyond ourselves and turn around and just look at others and give them something to inspire to become and give hope to others,” said Bacerra.

Gutierrez says her goal is to make 150 boxes next year but is truly blessed knowing she has a platform to give back and ensure that families in Delano have a nice Thanksgiving dinner.

“Only by the grace of God we know that we have good people that want to help others they just didn’t know how to go about it and now that we have that opportunity to do that through the soup kitchen ministry,” said Gutierrez. “A lot of people that are good people in our community want to help people, they just didn’t know how.”

All donations will be distributed on Monday at 2 p.m. but if you didn’t receive a box — there are more resources. Gutierrez will be at Tony’s fire house grill Thanksgiving morning handing out even more donations to families in need.

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