Annual Thanksgiving volunteer effort in Orange County shifts gears due to pandemic; now providing boxed dinners for families in need

This year's drive-thru Thanksgiving meal distribution at the Honda Center will replace the annual buffet style feast held previously. Organizers anticipate the need will be greater than ever this year due to the pandemic.
IRVINE (KABC) -- One box at a time.

Dozens of volunteers with the Anaheim Ducks work to prepare Thanksgiving Day meals for underserved families in Orange County.

Gilbert Vargas, vice president of the "We Give Thanks Foundation" sponsored by Wells Fargo, knows that hardship first-hand.

"My mom was a single mom with two small children so we never really had a lot, every day," said Vargas. "This allowed me to learn the act of giving."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, giving looks different. The 34th annual event will be drive-thru for the first time, with enough boxed meals for seven thousand cars.

The Foundation is teaming up with Second Harvest Food Bank.

"We're really good at getting people through fast, so while there will be a line, we don't expect the average car time to be that long," said Claudia Keller of Second Harvest Food Bank.

Thousands waiting at the Honda Center- for the opportunity to sit with their families around a meal on Thanksgiving Day. Tim Ryan, the CEO of the Honda Center says he's grateful for the opportunity to help his community.

"It's a bit emotional. The truth of the matter is it just feels good to do our part. There are so many people during this pandemic that are in such need," said Ryan. "It just feels great."
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