Van Nuys’ Central Lutheran Church hosts annual Thanksgiving meal giveaway

Boxes of turkeys, chickens, and game hens were stacked neatly in a vacant lot on the corner of Victory Blvd and Tyrone Ave in Van Nuys.

People lined the street waiting for their opportunity to receive fixings for a Thanksgiving meal provided by the Central Lutheran Church in cooperation with Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Pastor Marsha Harris hurried around the tables giving directions to volunteers and explaining to people in line how the process would work. Food for 600 families and 375 turkeys would be taken home, helping feed families in the predominantly working-class community.

This week’s Thanksgiving food was in addition to the regular Monday food bank supplying a week of groceries to families in need.

Each family registered for the event would receive a Thanksgiving diner, including mashed potatoes, cornbread, stuffing, beans, rice, corn, and other holiday staples.

Once the turkeys ran out, families would receive another poultry item such as a chicken or game hen.

United States Congressman Tony Cárdenas was on hand filling bags for families. “I know what it’s like just to get by. My parents raised 11 kids on one income; it feels great helping people get fed,” said the Congressman as he handed turkeys out.

Volunteers from Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian’s office, the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats Club, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, New City Church-San Fernando Valley, and the Lutheran Social Services of San Fernando Valley turned out to make the event happen.

“I am very grateful for them providing all the help to all these people in need. I am happy because people are so generous,” said Susana Briseno, waiting in line with friend Maria Puntes.

According to Harris, participation in the weekly food program has increased by almost 50% in 2021 over last year’s 2020 pandemic year.

“I am always blessed by this (food giveaway), but this is a special blessing to be able to provide a Thanksgiving meal and groceries for a week,” Harris added.

The event provided food for 765 households, with 3,450 people.

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