SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Hundreds of Thanksgiving meals have been served this week at the United Boys & Girls Clubs in Santa Barbara County.
They are free and funded by donations.
Monday the dinners were in Lompoc and Buellton, Tuesday it was in Carpinteria, Wednesday was Goleta's night and Thursday it was at the Westside Boys & Girls Club. Friday was at the Santa Barbara Canon Perdido St. downtown location.
The meals are prepared in the club kitchen on the Westside, except for the Canon Perdido club which has its own kitchen.
"I actually have a kitchen staff that are cooking the meals for the whole county for all of our clubs," said CEO Michael Baker. "and the families are really enjoying it but it really takes a huge village behind the scenes to make it happen."
The dinners are served on tables set up on the gymnasium floor. They are provided for club members and their families.
Thursday, music was provided through the Notes for Notes program. Volunteers were serving in a buffet line.
They included Board President Roger Acevas, who was once a club member years ago on the Eastside. "This is a memory. The memory of coming to the Westside club and seeing all their friends and families and this is a tradition, as long as I am around. By taking care of our kids we take care of our families."
The dinner menu by the Head Chef Ana Monzon and her crew completely filled each plate. It includes traditional turkey, ham, green beens, corn, mashed potatoes, a roll and dessert.
To see the results, with families eating together, Miguel Perez, a Youth Development Specialist said,
"I think it is great that everyone is getting food. It took a lot of hard work and dedication but we ended up getting a success."
One parent who brought two children, Erin Lammer said, "as someone who is born and raised in Santa Barbara, it's beautiful to see the community giving back and just knowing that we welcome and give the love and caring we need in Santa Barbara."
For more information go to: United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County
(More details, video and photos will be added here later today)