For the 19th year in a row, the city of Pasadena is partnering with Ralphs and Food4Less to provide hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to local families in need.
In 2021, the cost of a Thanksgiving meal increased nearly 15%, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, making the distribution event even more important to the 500 families involved.
The event is part of Pasadena's "zero waste, zero hunger" initiative.
"To narrow it down to those 500, we know they’re in pretty dire situations, and this might be more than just a meal," said Vanessa Rosales, corporate affairs director for Food4Less. "They’re going to stretch that out to like a week or, you know, a couple of days just because food is scarce.”
Prices at the grocery store aren't helping that scarcity.
"The need is tremendous," said volunteer Greg Bratton. "Everybody here is in need of something. The prices are going up, especially in our meet departments. Prices are going up, but we’re here right now to help our community and give back."
Volunteers at the event stuffed bags with all the fixings: turkey, mashed potatoes, veggies and pumpkin pie.
Delivery drivers took dozens of those meals to families who needed them.
"We work with families who are experiencing homelessness with the Pasadena unified school district, so we’re going to distribute them at the center," said Martha Jimenez, who volunteered to deliver meals.
Pasadena is working with around 100 nonprofits to identify those facing food insecurities, coordinating drop-offs to ensure no local family goes without a warm Thanksgiving meal.