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Local families grateful for holiday boxes
More than 500 families were helped on Sunday afternoon at the Porterville Area Coordinating Council food giveaway at the Comision Honorifica Mexicana-Americana which is located on the corner of Plano Street and East Date Avenue.
“These families are having a hard time. This is an extra blessing to them,” said Elva Beltran the director of the PACC. The giveaway involved the Comision, the Salvation Army, Orange Belt Realtors and Food Link. Volunteers from other organizations like the Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams helped out as well.
“It’s been a collaborative effort to bring food to our families,” said Beltran.
More than 700 boxes of food were given to needy families. The boxes contained items like a chicken, yogurt, pasta, canned vegetables and dry goods, like a cookie mix.
In the parking lot, needy residents lined up in rows and awaited their turn.
Porterville resident Mary Hamilton, who sat in the first space of one of the rows, brought her four adopted children.
“It’s just a blessing. I appreciate it,” Hamilton said. “Every little bit helps.”
A few rows away, Martha Gonzalez, another Porterville resident, agreed.
“It means a lot. I thank God that there’s organizations like this to help out the community,” Gonzalez said.
As boxes of food moved down the metal assembly line, volunteer Josh Avalos, who is Beltran’s nephew, kept a watchful eye to make sure they did not spill. A former member of the Porterville Police Explorer Program, he said he wants to pay it forward.
“I want to help the community I live in and which I grew up in. I just try to give back to the community,” said Avalos.
At the pick up station council members Cam Hamilton and Greg Shelton were loading boxes into the cars.
“The people are real appreciative. It’s nice to do,” said Shelton.
“We’re doing very well. There’s lots of smiles from the families,” Hamilton said.
Along the assembly line, from the pickup table back into the building, were a plethora of volunteers adding items to the boxes. At the very beginning of the line was 11-year-old Elena Facio, who placed two cans into the cardboard box. Her reason for taking the time to help was straightforward.
“To help the families that don’t have the money to get food,” said Facio.
Down the line was her mother, Teresa Facio, who brought Elena and her older sister Esther.
Teresa Facio said she wanted her daughters to be involved in the community.
Mayor Virginia Gurrola, who was working near the can bin, was impressed with all of the younger helpers.
“It fills my heart with joy to see this,” said Gurrola of the younger volunteers as box after box was filled with canned food. “It means a lot of people will have some food for their cupboard for Christmas.”
Contact Emily Shapiro at 784-5000, ext. 1050, or on Twitter @ EmilyShapirogar.