THANKSGIVING IN THE ROWLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
By Claudia S. Palma
@claudiasgvn on Twitter
LA PUENTE – More than 200 San Gabriel Valley families are feeling thankful this holiday thanks to the Family Resource Center in La Puente and Faith Community Church in West Covina.
The Center generally puts together dinner baskets and a turkey for families in need of students of Rowland Unified School District, which the center serves, for Thanksgiving.
“We normally have a small amount of baskets, maybe up to 75,” said Jennifer Kottke, FRC director.
The church’s outreach program collected several more baskets than anticipated this year and the Rev. Kelly Dupree reached out to local school districts to offer the baskets, including Rowland Unified and the FRC.
“We were elated we could provide for more families,” said Kottke.
All together, the donations along with the baskets they collected from district and school staff and members, Kottke said they are helping more than 200 families in the district this Thanksgiving.
Last Friday, families that were able to, picked up the boxes of food and a turkey or jam from the center. West Covina Police Chief Paul Lacommare was on hand Friday to deliver the boxes of donated food and turkeys to the FRC.
Those who couldn’t pick up were treated to home delivery by center and district staff. “This is really going to help out,” said Betty Glue, a parent picking up a basket Friday.
Blue has a child at Rowland High and just recently began fostering a young girl.
“I was amazed to get the call. I appreciated it,” she said. “This is going to help a lot of people.”
Faith Community asked that the donated “baskets,” which came in boxes with a Thanksgiving note, be given to families in the West Covina area first and then to the other cities that the district and center serves, including Rowland Heights, La Puente, City of Industry and Walnut.
The “baskets” from Faith Community consisted of boxed stuffing, canned vegetables, gravy and cranberry sauce, a disposable aluminum roasting pan, a 10-pound bag of potatoes and, for dessert, a graham cracker pie crust and canned pie filling or instant pudding mix. Families also received a turkey or ham.
The turkeys and hams were thanks to Faith Community as well as several donations to FRC, including one from Supervisor Don Knabe.
“We were blessed this year to get so many turkeys,” said Monica Olmos of FRC.
A select number of baskets were put together for some of the most needy families int eh district, many that are considered “hotel families,” that are considered homeless.
“The families are just very grateful,” said Kottke. “We also asked for some pre-cooked turkeys for families that may only have access to a microwave or hot plate.”
District families identified in need were called to ask if they would like to participate in the Thanksgiving outreach. Many were happily surprised, including Lani and Miann Perez, parents of five children, some who are attending Hollingworth Elementary and Nogales High. One child is attending Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.
“For a family fathering, (the Thanksgiving boxc) is nice,” sai Miann, who added the family would have just cooked whatever was on hand at home during the holiday next week, if not for the donation.
“It’s a good thing to have this center,” she said.
PHOTO CAPTION: Katherine Rodriguez from Rowland Unified School District's Family Resrouce Center gives a family a box with a complete turkey meal on Nov. 22 in La Puente.
FRC Employees with turkeys and supplies for giveaway.