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Fires, holiday season squeezing charities

November 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Local groups are definitely feeling the squeeze as they try to make supplies stretch to feed the growing numbers of hungry families. Volunteer groups are pitching in, donating food and helping distribute it. In the Fairfax District, the Salvation Army is kicking off its holiday fundraising effort. It's a festive atmosphere here in the Fairfax District, but this year there's more of a need to help people out than in past years.

People started lining up outside The Giving Bank in South Pasadena at 4 a.m. Monday. On Mondays throughout the year, the organization helps out between 200 to 250 families with groceries. But on this Monday, with Thanksgiving just a few days away, more than 400 families have lined up for this turkey giveaway.

"We have seen people from all walks of life come through our doors," said Carrie-Anne Luesue, The Giving Bank. "We've just been blessed that we have enough to not be able to not turn anyone away."

And all here are appreciative and thankful for this help.

"I'm retired and I don't work anymore for a long time, so I think it's going to help a lot," said Gregory Renteria.

"Thank you for the food and the church and thank God for the food for this month," said Gloribel Samayoa.

At the LAPD's Northeast Community Police Station they are helping out one of their own with a barbeque fundraiser. Officer Taybren Lee and his son were among the hundreds who lost their home in the Sayre Fire that destroyed most of the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar last week.

"Total blaze, you know, the mountainside looking like a volcano and everything. And I didn't expect five hours later, just no more. So other than that I'm just, I've got a good job, I'm working, my son is in good health, I'm in good health. Life will go on, just one of those real tragic setbacks of life," said Officer Lee.

The Giving Back Fund and The Salvation Army organizations are hoping people will be generous enough to help them help the needy through this holiday season.


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