We are proud to be a partner in the 5th Annual Project Turkey Leg taking place this week. By late Thursday night a FULL Thanksgiving meal will have been delivered to 150 GRIP Families. We have been involved with the Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership since 2008. It is a positive and proactive attempt to intervene with 4th – 8th grade students considered at risk of joining a gang. Yes, they are recruiting them that early! This particular Thanksgiving incentive has been a HUGE success right from the beginning. This year we are joined by Anaheim First Christian Church, Community Service Programs, the Police Chief’s Advisory Board, the Anaheim City, Magnolia and Savannah School Districts, Walmart, Costco and a HOST of volunteers!
At the beginning of the school year (that’s mid-August here) students that are identified as at-risk are invited to sign a behavior contract. They agree to perfect attendance, finishing all homework and staying out of trouble from September 1 to November 11. If they successfully complete that contract they win a full Thanksgiving meal for their whole family. It is not just a turkey, but everything they need for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, including produce AND a recipe book in both English and Spanish with pictures! It is delivered by their principal, an Anaheim police officer and GRIP case manager and a member of the Police Chief’s Advisory Board. It’s quite a deal! A really fun part of it is that it’s a surprise to the parents and family! Every year we hear the emotional stories of meeting these families, honoring these successful students, and watching the difference full participation in school can make!
Some of our mothers and families have been recipients of this special award and now many of them help pack the bags and prepare for deliveries. It is very cool. 843 people will be enjoying a FEAST for Thanksgiving this year. I’m grateful we are part of making it happen.