SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Toyota of Santa Maria, Honda of Santa Maria and Kia of Santa Maria are teaming up to help rev up food donations for the News Channel 12 Turkey Drive.
"We are through the roof excited and we want a strong turnout to feed the community," said Christopher Chen, Honda of Santa Maria Senior Sales Consultant."Everyone is gathering up to provide for the community, and it brings us great joy to do that, and we just want to get a great turnout for this year."
For the next three weeks, the dealerships will load up showroom vehicles with donations provided by generous community members.
"We're excited to partner up with Toyota and Honda and really bring in non-perishable food items to our showrooms and pay it back to our community," said Rodrigo Duran, Kia of Santa Maria General Manager.
All of the donations that are received by the dealerships will be given to Good Samaritan Shelter, which provides emergency, transitional and affordable housing with support services to the homeless and those in recovery throughout the Central Coast.
"It's super simple," said Brian McConkey, Toyota of Santa Maria Sales Manager. "You can bring one can, 10 cans, as much as you can provide. We will take it because it's going to help people in need, and we're going to donate it, so whatever you can bring."
The three dealerships are all operated by the same ownership group. In 2019, Toyota and Honda held a similar food collection for the Turkey Drive and have brought the important benefit back, but now with a third dealership after opening the Kia lot two years ago.
"We have a lot of core values," said McConkey. "One is having a serving mindset, and we don't do it for any accolades, we do it just to give back to the community as best as we can as much as we can. Anything that we can do we will do."
The annual News Channel Turkey Drive benefits SLO Food Bank clients in San Luis Obispo County and those with Good Samaritan Shelter in Santa Barbara County.
On Tuesday, Nov. 14, News Channel will hold four donation sites where the public can donate a turkey, non-perishable food, or financial contributions.
Donations collected in San Luis Obispo County, at California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach and Vons in San Luis Obispo will directly assist SLO Food Bank Clients.
Those collected in Santa Barbara County will directly benefit Good Samaritan clients, as well as other local non-profit organizations.
Santa Barbara County locations for the Turkey Drive will be the News Channel 12 Santa Maria station, as well as Grocery Outlet Bargain Market in Lompoc.
On-site donations will be accepted from 6 a.m. to 7 pm.
Financial donations can be made anytime by visiting the Turkey Drive website. Donors can choose to contribute to either Good Samaritan or SLO Food Bank.
As the Turkey Drive approaches, donations are needed now more than ever, especially as several economic factors have required many in the community to reach out for Good Samaritan services.
"It has been a challenging year for many families here on the Central Coast," said Duran. "We're looking forward to making a difference and making it a little easier this holiday season for our community," said Duran.
The dealerships are hoping what they bring in will help those in need enjoy a better and brighter holiday season.
"I know people go to sleep hungry every day and that's not something I wouldn't want for anybody, so I know there's a huge need out there for hungry kids and families and there's a huge need out there," said Chen.
Donations collected at the three dealerships will be driven to the News Channel Santa Maria station and delivered to Good Samaritan on the final day of the Turkey Drive on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Community members who wish to donate can do so at any of the three dealerships during regular business hours starting Oct. 23 through Nov. 14.
For more information about the News Channel 12 Turkey Drive, or to donate, click here.