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Monday, November 24, 2008

Operation Gobble

I grabbed this article from the Hi-Desert Newspaper website. I guess I owe ice cream again.

Firefighter/Paramedic KW, left, and firefighter Grant Grafius grapple with several pounds of Thanksgiving cheer as they set aside turkeys for Morongo Valley Elementary School. Custom food baskets will be created by school staff to share with student families and needy neighbors.

By Rebecca Unger / Hi-Desert Star
Saturday, November 22, 2008 12:07 AM PST

MORONGO VALLEY — The employees and volunteers of the Morongo Valley Community Service District office, and the on-duty firefighters next door, put in a busy hour Friday helping Mike Pollack and the Golden State Water Company distribute 45 frozen turkeys.

This is the 18th year the water company has partnered with Ralphs grocery stores to help bring Thanksgiving meals to more homes for the holiday.

“Over the years, Operation Gobble has given away more than 8,500 turkeys,” said Pollack, a water company supervisor.

This year, the donation came from the Ralphs store in Indian Wells.

Besides the 45 given away Friday, another 25 turkeys were set aside for
Morongo Valley Elementary School, which will include them in meal baskets to be given to needy student families and other residents.

An additional five turkeys go to the Church of the Lighted Cross to be served as part of its public Thanksgiving dinner.

Terri Alyea of Morongo Valley is unemployed this year, so is grateful for the two turkeys — about 30 pounds worth — that she’ll be able to prepare for her loved ones.

“You have to be content no matter where you are,” Alyea said, referring to her change in circumstance for this holiday. And she stayed upbeat, describing the from-scratch pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce she planned to delight her 12 guests with.

Indeed, the warm Hi-Desert air fairly rang with “Thank you,” and “Happy Thanksgiving,” as the lined-up recipients got their names checked off the list and their bags filled.

“We do this throughout the company,” said Golden State Water office manager Cindi Ribera. She is especially grateful herself this season, as she is back in her Pioneertown home for her first Thanksgiving since the Sawtooth fire destroyed everything she and her daughter, Leah, had.

Pollack looks forward to spending the holiday in Las Vegas, Nev., with his parents, and he joked with Community Services District manager Meg Foley about who makes the best deviled eggs. “My mom puts a little relish juice in the mix,” Pollack said with approval. “I use wasabi mayonnaise and sprinkle chili powder on top,” countered Foley. Some do like it hot!

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