Facebook Idea Becomes Mission to Feed Menifee's Less Fortunate

The concept started out as a Facebook post. A mere idea to spread some holiday cheer, within a matte...

The concept started out as a Facebook post. A mere idea to spread some holiday cheer, within a matter of comments and phone calls, quickly became a realistic effort to feed Menifee’s hungry for Christmas 2010.

What began as one mother’s quest to teach her children the true meaning of Christmas, rapidly gained enough momentum and support to feed and gift over one hundred and fifty local families last December 25th.

Local resident, Jimmy Canales, was the good citizen who responded to the initial Facebook posting and eventually would be the one to initiate and recruit for his cause. With the solid help of ten people behind the project, they began a mission to feed Menifee.

Jimmy’s reasoning was simple, “There are places far away for those in need to go on Christmas, but there are Menifee families who are struggling financially and need help right here. So many people are a paycheck away from disaster, we wanted to help right here.”

Since its start the campaign has grown and, in only one years time, enlisted more help and more donations. This year with generosity set high, the goal is to feed and gift over 300 families on Christmas day, doubling what they were able to accomplish in only two weeks in 2010.

Menifee Christmas Dinner and Toy Drive has expanded from last year, and has high hopes to reach families in need not only in Menifee but also in Murrieta, Quail Valley, Sun City, Perris, and Romoland as well.

In addition to freely serving hot meals to the community on Christmas from 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm, there will also be prepackaged take and make meals given to each family. Non-perishable food items collected throughout the food drive are carefully packed into 9 X 9 X 10 gift wrapped boxes for the families attending to take home for an additional make-at-home meal.

Another thirty especially in need families are being sought out for volunteers to hand deliver Christmas to their homes the week before the actual holiday. The drop off will include food to prepare and gifts for each child.

The mission is to serve anyone in need, including; those experiencing financial difficulties, families with a member away on deployment, single parent family situations, seniors who might not have anywhere to go for Christmas, and even the homeless.

While support has been phenomenal, their undertaking is always in need of more helping hands and any donations. For the remainder of December including Christmas Eve, every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm volunteers are needed to run the toy donation booth across from Countryside Marketplace.

Volunteers have been running the food drive collections in front of grocery stores and will continue to do so until Christmas Eve. Donations of non-perishable food, toys, and gift cards can also be dropped off any time during the week, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm, at the Wheatfield Park Clubhouse.

Somewhat of a miraculous grass roots effort, the Menifee Dinner and Toy Drive mission remains the same as it read on day one, “Spread the spirit of giving.” It would seem they have every intention of continuing to give, and give, and give for many Christmas’s to come.

As Jimmy concisely said, “It’s the community feeding the community.” Which, during the holidays and through out the year, is what community is all about.

Ways you can help:

1. Deliver food or supplies on Christmas day to the Marion B Ashley Community Center. Organized through Perfectpotluck.com, sign up for what and when you would like to bring something. Drop offs begin at 11:00 am Christmas day.
Website: Perfectpotluck.com, Coordinator: TANKINK, Password: CHRISTMAS

2. Toy drive volunteers. Volunteers are desperately needed to staff 2-hour time slots every Saturday and Sunday from now until Christmas Eve from 10:00 am through 4:00 pm.

3. Food drive volunteers. Staff the food collection locations at Albertson's and Ralph’s grocery store.

4. Decorate and set up the community center on Christmas Eve from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm.

5. Take down and cleanup on Christmas evening, after dinner is served.

6. Filling and wrapping take home dinner boxes.

7. Delivering meals and presents the week before Christmas to 30 families.

If you are interested in helping, would like more information, or know someone you could benefit from the Dinner and Toy outreach, please contact Jimmy Canales.

Email: jimmycanales43@yahoo.com
Phone: 951.852.1668
Facebook: Menifee Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner
When: Saturday, December 25, 2011
Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Marion B Ashley Community Center
25625 Briggs Road
Menifee, CA 92585


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