Timely storefront displays, decorative lights and signs on houses and lawns, and Mariah Carey on the radio can only mean one thing – the holiday season is upon us!

The season’s festivities go hand in hand with spreading joy, spending quality time with family, and gift-giving. The Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles and UPS believe that there is no better way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year than by giving back to the community.

On Tuesday, Nov. 22, the pair hosted their annual Thanksgiving dinner event for the first time since 2019, due to the lifting of Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 social gathering restrictions. Families of children enrolled in the club and local members of food assistance programs packed the club’s gymnasium, making the event a smash hit once again.

“We’ve had a pretty good turnout! I would say we’ve had three or four hundred people here today, and I think that’s about, or maybe a little less, before COVID,” said Juana Lambert, the club’s chapter director.

Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club chapter director Juana Lambert thank community members for attending the event before handing the microphone over for prayer on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. Christian Wogoman/Canyons News

UPS employees and their families have helped organize the yearly Thanksgiving feast since 2009. This year, they set up dozens of tables and chairs, prepped the buffet spread, and served enough food to feed a village.

Despite the large turnout, there was more than enough delicious food to go around. Event staff encouraged attendees to grab seconds, thirds, and prepackaged to-go plates.

Full trays of turkey, mashed potatoes, collared greens, and pumpkin pies were sent to local food banks once the club closed its doors.

Hundreds of community members lined up for the Thanksgiving buffet. UPS volunteers and club staff happily served the food. Christian Wogoman/Canyons News

Over the years, many of the club staff and volunteers incorporated the annual event into their holiday schedules. Among the crowd, however, were some new faces who may be familiar to some in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Anita Solis is a Valencia resident who believes that holiday spirit could be used to teach valuable life lessons.

“I feel like giving is really important, and I want to show my kids, so I brought my kids. We’re having a good time just giving everybody food and talking to people,” said Solis. She and her kids are excited to return for next year’s event.

Valencia resident Anita Solis volunteered at the event for the first time, and couldn’t be happier to help members of the Los Angeles community. Christian Wogoman/Canyons News

The Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club and the San Antonio Winery plan to host a toy giveaway later this month, while UPS ensures that every present arrives on time.

You can make this holiday season special for members of the community by volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club Newhall or Sierra Vista clubhouses. The nonprofit club also greatly appreciates sponsorships and donations of any kind.

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