Warm Food, Warm Hearts, Warm Conversation as Police, Volunteers Brighten Thanksgiving for Seniors and the Homeless

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7:00 pm | November 23, 2017


Pasadena police officers and community volunteers converged on the Pasadena Tabernacle of the Salvation Army Thanksgiving Day to be part of two very special annual Thanksgiving events: an annual meal-delivery by police for homebound seniors in the Pasadena area, and a full, free, sit-down turkey dinner for the homeless and the hungry at the Salvation Army facility on East Walnut Street.

“We are delivering 411 meals to seniors in the Pasadena area, who are homebound, and have mobility issues or transportation issues,” Jhoanna Hirasuna, Director of Social Services at the Pasadena Tabernacle said before the meal deliveries were sent out. “And oftentimes, many of these seniors do not have any family members who they will be spending Thanksgiving with.”

Hirasuna said the Pasadena Police Department sent about 17 officers plus additional employees, many of whom brought their families with them.

“They’re going to go out and bring some joy to some of our seniors here in the community,” Hirasuna said.

Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez led the small army from the police department.

“I have to tell you, it’s a pretty special time of the year. You can see just by the uniformed presence that police officers are pretty passionate about this,” Sanchez said. “Oftentimes, their assistance and their community engagement and building trust with the community are below the radar, but today is a special day. Every year we enjoy it very much.”

Capt. Ruthindo Masango, a pastor with the Pasadena Tabernacle, said over 800 people came through the Salvation Army’s doors early on Thanksgiving Day to give food. The volunteers either cooked more food, packed them, or served the hundreds of homeless who came to the feeding center. Several others drove for the meal deliveries.

“We’re serving food to the homeless people, we’re serving food to anybody who may not have enough today, they can come here and have some lunch at the Salvation Army,” Masango said. “So this is such a special event today, just a reminder to be thankful, not to take anything for granted, but always give thanks.”

Last year, a number of high school students sponsored by the Pasadena Host Lions Club spent Thanksgiving morning preparing the meals for delivery to Pasadena homes and then helped served guests who came to have lunch at the Pasadena Tabernacle. The Pasadena Host Lions play an important  role in this annual event.

“It’s a privilege for us to help everyone in need and everyone who’s hungry today, especially on Thanksgiving Day,” Laura Henry-John, who works with Adult Ministries at the Salvation Army, said Thursday. “We’re excited to participate in this beautiful setting, and there’s two ways of feeding: we feed our tummies that are very important on this day, and at the same time feed everyone with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”