Paying it forward in Long Beach
BY: KATHLEEN SANDOVAL
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and for some, it's the time of year to help others. Locals of our diverse Long Beach community join together each year to help the less fortunate by providing meals and services to those in need. Listed below are just a few ways to get involved and learn more about the offerings in the area. A Health and Nutrition Mobile Office will be on November 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Long Beach Multi Service Center, located at 1301 W. 12th St. The office will be providing information and taking applications for CalFresh and Medi-Cal Benefits, and the event is open to all. The goal is to provide basic benefits for people who are currently homeless. For additional information, Elsa Ramos can be contacted at (562) 733-1147, or DPSS Community Outreach Coordinator, Rosueta Rodriguez, at (626) 312-6165.
In another part of town, The Long Beach Rescue Mission will be providing meals for the less fortunate on November 23 and 24 at their facility on 1335 Pacific Ave. A Thanksgiving dinner and breakfast will be provided on the scheduled days. To help out, donations can be made online at lbrm.org and anyone who would like to volunteer is free to sign up on the website as well.
Adopting a family in need is another great way to aid the less than fortunate. Families-forward.org is an organization that takes in donations to help provide for those in need and anyone can sign up to volunteer. Opportunities range from individual, family, group, to holidays and food drives.
Another event will be held by one of the fraternities on our very own CSULB campus. Lambda Theta Phi will be orchestrating their 13th annual Thanksgiving Outreach on Thanksgiving Day. Meal distribution commences at 7 p.m. when the drivers take off from the parking structure near the CSULB pyramid.
The event first started in 1998 and has since grown into a tradition for Lambda Theta Phi. The fraternity brothers, along with volunteers, deliver meals to families in need for Thanksgiving.
The Alpha lota president, Moises Pena, stated that the reason why this outreach event began in the first place was because some brothers and their families were having troubles. In their first year of holding the event, they only had eight families to feed, which is a stark contrast from the 242 families they fed last year.
Their donated meals consist of a full Thanksgiving dinner and are made to accommodate a household of 4-6 people. Last year alone, they had over 300 volunteers and 100 drivers to aid in the process of the event.
"It's a great way to give back to the community," emphasized Pena on the importance of the holiday outreach event.
Getting to meet the families helps the volunteers forge an emotional connection with the family, Pena also added. "It's one experience where you are making a change in one person's life." To volunteer, or for further information on this event, visit www.longbeachlambdas.com
In addition, the eighth annual Turkey Trot of Long Beach provides a source of entertainment as well as a familial environment with its 5K and 10K run/walk event. The Turkey Trot will take place November 24 at the Belmont Pool, just two blocks east of the Belmont Pier.
"[The Long Beach Turkey Trot] is a good opportunity to run off the calories of the Thanksgiving meal to come later on," said Justin Rudd, event organizer of Turkey Trot. "It's good to know you are helping a charity and supporting a community event."
There is also a Kids' half-mile Wingding. Students and teachers interested in participating can receive a $10 dollar discount when they go to register. The proceeds of the event go to the Community Action Team, an organization that orchestrates community events, such as the monthly 30-Minute Beach Cleanup and the Long Beach Giving Project.Visit http://justinrudd.com/trot.html for more information or inquires on the event.
The offerings of these charitable happenings in the area are just a few ways to get involved and make a difference. Thanksgiving provides a great opportunity to reach out and give back to the community, so take advantage of what our city has to offer. Imagine, one person, one cause, equals one change that can last a lifetime.