SANTA MONICA—On Tuesday November 24, 2020, Santa Monica City teamed up with many (Boys and Girls Club, SMC Foundation, Community Corporation of Santa Monica, Santa Monica College) in order to distribute groceries for a complete, free Thanksgiving meal to 1,455 members of the Santa Monica Community and Santa Monica Community College’s students.
More than 200 volunteers distributed the grocery boxes at Santa Monica College’s main campus. The boxes, according to organizers, contained dishes such as turkey, fresh produce, dinner rolls, non-alcoholic beverages and pumpkin pies. Covid regulations were followed as the volunteers wore face coverings and face shields.
Santa Monica College President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery said that “even by the most conservative estimates, the number of households without dependable access to nutritious food has, at the very least, doubled.” Jeffery cited a Spring 2020 survey by The Hope Center that found 44 percent of two-year college students were struggling with food insecurity.
Jeffery explained that “behind those numbers are real people, members of our communities.” The motivation was for “this joint effort to positively impact students and families during a pandemic [,] one way to help replace their stress and anxiety with some joy.”
The sponsors included: Associated Students of Santa Monica College, Costco Culver City, Danone Foods, Everytable, GoGo Squeeze, Kiwanis Santa Monica, Jacmar Food Service Distribution, Not Impossible Labs, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism, Suja Juice, The Butter End Cakery, Verizon, Vicente Foods, Vintage Grocers, Westside Food Bank and Whole Foods Market.
“This Thanksgiving, we have an opportunity to lift up local families in need and remember the joy that generosity and gratitude bring,” said Santa Monica’s Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “Santa Monica thrives when we help each other. This is one of many chances to give in a year when we must, more than ever before, come together as a community.”
Margaret Sohagi, the SMC Foundation’s newly elected Board Chair, noted that “if there ever was a time to give, it is now. It is hard—nearly impossible—for those among us who may not suffer from food insecurity to imagine just how painful and demoralizing it is,” said Sohagi. “It behooves us to come together to help our neighbors. I am so proud to be part of a community that cares!”
Tafari Alan, SMC Associated Students president, said that she felt “grateful and cared for” by the individuals doing amazing work to support the community. Alan called out The SMC Foundation in particular, for providing much-needed basic needs support to SMC students. “Associated Students enthusiastically supports this Giving Thanks(giving) food drive and we are looking forward to the date as it approaches!” Alan said.
The City is inviting members of the public to continue the spirit of giving by making a donation to the Virginia Avenue Park food pantry. The pantry supports Santa Monica families facing food insecurity throughout the holiday season. To donate visit calfund.org/wearesantamonica and select HOLIDAY FOOD PANTRY under Area of Support.