It was just a couple weeks ago that members of Stockton Professional Firefighters Local 456 used their 1958 Peter Pirsch & Sons Aerial Ladder Truck to deliver turkeys to area agencies in Stockton, California. Along with the turkeys, gift cards for an area grocery store were also donated by the firefighters and the San Joaquin Labor Coalition to help the agencies provide meals on Thanksgiving Day. Read below the touching story of how a community of generosity gives hope in times of desperate need.
This story was provided by the Women’s Center – Youth and Family Services of Stockton, California. Place names and other identifying information have been removed.
How a community’s generosity saved a family
The day before Thanksgiving, a woman and her two daughters arrived at our office. They had traveled here from another state, fleeing from her abusive husband. The girls were not fully aware of the situation, but we could see in the mother’s eyes that she was desperate. The girls cheerfully visited with staff, saying “It’s almost Thanksgiving and we are going to have lots of good food! Right Mom?” Mom nodded in assurance, despite the fact that she wasn’t sure where they would sleep that night or where their next meal would come from.
After a few quick phone calls, staff arranged for the family to go to a shelter for battered women and their children in a nearby community. Mom was so relieved to hear that they would have a safe place to sleep that night. The shelter was established with donations from a local hospital, and is supported by community donations and a grant from a family foundation. The girls’ eyes lit up when we told them there was a playground in the backyard, a gift from the Rotary Club. We were able to tell them that they would have a Thanksgiving meal the next day, thanks to donations of food from the San Joaquin Labor Coalition and other community members.
Each girl received a welcome bag with a book, blanket, stuffed animal, and other supplies from a joint project by My Stuff Bags Foundation and Blue Shield of California. One of the girls said “Can I have one of the things in the bag?” She was amazed when we told her the whole bag was for her. She smiled so brightly and said “thank you!” The taxi that came to take them to the shelter was paid for by a small grant from a donor.
In total, the generosity of 10 different organizations and many individuals came together to make the Thanksgiving holiday a safe, warm, and special day for this family. These donations provided so much more than just food and shelter. They gave a family in crisis relief, comfort, happiness, and hope for the future. We need everyone’s support to make our services possible. Today is #GivingTuesday. Give the gift of hope to those in need. Your donation means more than you know.