SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Dozens of Allan Hancock College single-parent students received free Thanksgiving meals during an annual giveaway held Tuesday.
"This an exciting event every year," said Hancock College CARE/EOPS Coordinator Alex Spiess. "This year we've doubled what we did last year, so we're doing 90 turkey meals for Hancock students who are single-parent families."
Now in its 13th year, the CARE Turkey Event provides eligible students with a gift package worth about $50 that includes a turkey and all of the traditional holiday fixings, such as mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, pumpkin pie and much more.
"It means so much for me and my family, especially right now with everything," said student Yessica Garcia. It's actually amazing getting this whole Thanksgiving dinner for me and my family. Everything is very expensive, and for Hancock to give this free meal, it's amazing! I'm very blessed."
Eligible students include those participating in several campus programs, such as CARE, which is Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education. It is a state-funded program for single-parents receiving cash-aid benefits from the college.
"It really helps a lot because I'm a single mom," said student Amber Burton. "We only have one paycheck in our household. I live with my parents, so this does come in handy a lot, especially when we just don't know if we're going to be able to do any holidays, so it does help because it saves us money."
Other programs involved in the giveaway includes Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), CalWorks, Rising Scholars, Foster Youth Services, CAN/TRIO, AIM to Dream, Noncredit Counseling, Veterans, Learning Assistance Program and Basic Needs.
Donations were made possible through generous donations from Hancock faculty and staff, local community members and Spencer’s Fresh Market.
"It's a great event," said Speiss. It's pretty heartwarming to be able to put this event together every year and we get an outpouring of support from our Hancock community in raising the funds for this. It's a rounded effort. We raised about $4,000 this year."