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San Clemente Times
For over a decade, Family Assistance Ministries (FAM) has thrown a Thanksgiving feast for those who could not afford one, and this year was no different. More than 600 bellies were filled the day before Thanksgiving at the San Clemente Community Center thanks to FAM, the National Charity League, the city and the San Clemente community.
The night kicked off by serving a buffet style turkey dinner to a line of guests wrapped around the Community Center, while a harpist played holiday music as guests took their seats. As soon as the center was filled, Deacon Al Scaduto of St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church took the stage to say grace and the feast was officially underway.
“This was an opportunity for people to come together, put aside all of their struggles and just share a meal with each other,” said Mary Perdue, executive director of FAM.
More than 60 people, including staff, FAM board members and volunteers served 150 turkeys to guests, complete with all of the holiday trimmings.
San Clemente local and guest Darren Jones has attended this Thanksgiving feast every year that it has been held.
“Thank God FAM is here. They are good, kind people and they help a lot of people every day,” Jones said. “This event means a lot to me, people are getting together to help others and give thanks. That’s what it’s all about.”
It was not just FAM that lent a helping hand, but the San Clemente Community as a whole. Nine local restaurants including Rocco’s Restaurant, Café Mimosa and The Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar pitched in; not to mention dozens of volunteers who helped serve dessert and coffee after the meal.
“This is a communal effort, we really can’t do it without the community’s help,” Perdue said.
Retired San Clemente deputy and voice of the San Clemente varsity football broadcast, Rich Corder, volunteered to pass out desserts as a simple way to give back to the community he served for 27 years.
“What better way to give this holiday season than a good, warm meal?” Corder said.
In addition to hundreds of homeless and hungry people who attended this event, FAM boxed up additional meals for people to take to their families back home.
FAM will continue to provide services to homeless and hungry people throughout the holiday season. Visit www.family-assistance.org for more information. —Victor Carno