TWENTYNINE PALMS — Five hundred sixty meals were served during the Food For Life community Thanksgiving meal Thursday afternoon, Nov. 28, at First Baptist Church.
“It went really well,” Food For Life President Debbie Tirozzi said. “Everybody got really full.”
In addition to the hundreds of meals that were served at the church, 243 meals were delivered to home-bound residents by volunteers who braved an early winter storm to make their rounds.
Diners feasted on turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and yams and croissants that were served at their tables while Hunter and the Wick’d, Miri Hunter and Thom Merrick, provided a musical backdrop.
There was also a full selection of desserts.
When they were done with their meal, diners were invited to take a few steps and select free clothing from tables piled high with selections collected by members of the Women in God’s Service at First Baptist Church.
The table was watched over by WIGS member Kuulei Straits, who said members spend all year collecting clothing they give away at he annual Thanksgiving meal.
Volunteers included a contingent of young missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some of whom previously helped prepare and serve weekly Food For Life meals at the Twentynine Palms Church of the Nazarene.
These included Elder Kyler Trujillo, w ho was born in Utah but grew up as a military brat moving from place to place.
He and his fellow missionaries came to Twentynine Palms from Redlands. They will find out, on Dec. 8, where their next stop will be.
Tirozzi said it was impossible to keep track of how many people volunteered their time and talents to make the afternoon meal a success.
“People showed up,” she said., adding that there were drivers and cooks and servers and those who showed up in time to clean up after the meal was finished. Some, she said, worked all day and others came for an hour and left.
“We just know we were blessed by the number of people who came,” she said.
Food For Life, she said, is an all volunteer organization.
“There is not one paid staff member.”
Planning has already begun for the Food For Life community Christmas dinner, set for 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Palms Baptist Church on Adobe Road.
Organizers, she noted, have already been on two toy runs, building up a supply for a toy giveaway. Residents will be asked to sign up for the toy giveaway so that toys can be matched with recipients. More information will be provided in the coming weeks.