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Thousands fed and fitted in Newhall

Two Newhall events gather community for Thanksgiving

Posted: November 23, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 23, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Main Street in Newhall is blocked off as thousands enjoy a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday.

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From Thanksgiving meals served up at the senior center to Thanksgiving meals served up at the annual Thanksgiving Feast on Main Street, a visitor to either would emerge with only one conclusion — there’s a lot of love in Newhall.

At about noon Thursday, just as mashed potatoes were being plopped onto plates at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, paper plates were buckling under the same fare in front the Newhall Bicycle Co.

In both places, just a couple of blocks apart, there was ample indication of love and thanks and gratitude.

Saugus High School students Kendra Morris and Christina Stirwalt, both 16, sat down at the dinner table inside the senior center with Rose Hawkins.

“This is wonderful,” Hawkins said, pausing in her Thanksgiving meal, knife and fork in hand.

“The young people that come to talk to the older people is just wonderful.”

Hawkins, with white hair now since her days growing up in Rhode Island, had nothing but nice things to say about her two new friends.

“The food is fabulous,” she said. “But, the whole thing is great.”

Volunteers respond

Both girls said they found volunteering a benefit — not only for the community — but for themselves as well.

“I wanted to get an early start at volunteering,” Morris said.

Her friend agreed.

“I want to be a pediatrician and I believe you kind of have to reach out to other people for that and make them feel comfortable,” Stirwalt said.

Every year for the past three years, Thanksgiving dinner at the center has mushroomed in size, organizers said.

“I am thankful to live in a community where people will go on their day off and take time from their families to serve other people,” said Rachelle Dardeau, executive director of the senior center.

Some volunteers didn’t leave their families — they brought them to the center.

Karen Dominguez who described herself as “just a mom” said she was very proud of her daughters Samantha and Alexandra who sang Christmas carols with members of the Hart High School show choir: Danielle Honeyman, Jesse Russell, John Walker and Cassie Schmidt.

“I can’t believe all the different places that provided food for them,” she said surveying an estimated 400 people sharing the Thanksgiving dinner.

Tom and Dolly Furney, who just finished celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary last month, shared in the center meal for the third year in a row.

“The food is good and the kids are fabulous,” Dolly said.

If any of the guests stepped outside under a crisp blue fall sky for a breather, to loosen belts or pause before desert, they very well might have smelt the barbecue pits on Main Street cooking up food for folks there.

Street feast

About 3,000 people showed up for the annual Newhall Thanksgiving feast on Main Street between Market Street and William S. Hart Park — pushing attendance even higher than it was last year.

This year marked the second consecutive year Shannon and Roger Hasper, owners of the Newhall Bicycle Company, have collected and distributed donated clothes — particularly kids clothes at the street dinner.

“Everybody just finds a job and does it,” Shannon said. “The food keeps replenishing itself.”

West Ranch student Jagoda Kielczyk, 16, found a job helping people find donated toddler clothes.

“I like to be in charge and here I’m organizing baby clothes,” she said.

Hundreds of people responded to an appeal by the Haspers to donate kids clothes.

On the food front, at least 2,000 boxes of nonperishable goods were donated from the Real Life Church alone.

Many cooks

For the meal itself — turkey, gravy, potatoes and all the other traditional fare — scores of volunteers pulled on disposable serving gloves and went to work piling up plates.

“This is our first time,” said Kelly Nelson who attended the feast with her son Devon.

“It’s an incredible feeling when you see all the community coming together,” she said.

Devon, a 10th-grade student at Valencia High School, added: “It’s nice to see people care.”

Some of the sponsors contributing to this year’s feast included Brandon Stuart from The Sitting Tree, SCV Rental Center and the city of Santa Clarita




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