Presbyterians in the South Bay: San Pedro, Rancho Palos Verdes, Lomita, and the Harbor Area ... On-line

Thanksgiving Basket Program

First Presbyterian Church of San Pedro: Christ for Life

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2013 was our 18th year!

The First Presbyterian Church of San Pedro sponsored its 18th annual Thanksgiving Family Food Baskets distribution to needy families living in the greater San Pedro area. The Church delivered almost 1,000 Food Baskets to feed a bout 6,000 needy people. With this accomplishment, the Church reached a tremendous milestone in its 18th year of the program:

  • Raised $320,000 in donations,
  • Delivered 12,000 Food Baskets, and
  • Fed approximately 72,000 needy people in the San Pedro area, during Thanksgiving.
Local businesses, including Albertsons, Top Valu Markets, PCMC, San Pedro Forklift, the Rolling Hills Community Association, Anderson Repair & Supply, help to donate equipment and materials, as well as close to 1,200 cases of food at wholesale price. More than 200 church members and volunteers assembled the baskets and deliver them; two thirds of our church’s members participate in some way.


The basket

Each basket contains ingredients to prepare a full Thanksgiving meal for a family of about six: all the necessary canned and packaged food, trimmings and turkey, roasting pan, along with a personal letter from a donor family to the recipient family, and a Bible. Church members, individuals, and local businesses purchase the baskets for $40.00 each.

History of the Effort

The Baskets program began when several church members attended the Promise Keepers gathering of men in Los Angeles. They came home to San Pedro wanting to serve the families of their town in a real and tangible way. It was launched by Brent Howell, a church elder, who resides in Rolling Hills, John Olguin, a legendary civic leader in San Pedro, and Bill Steel, the church’s pastor at the time. Their dream was to provide dignity to poor families; to allow them to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal at home, rather than having to shuffle through a long soup kitchen line. What motivates the 150 plus church volunteers who participate in the boxing and delivery is the fact that they are helping their neighbors and the thanks expressed by so many of the families who receive a Thanksgiving food basket.

Who We Serve

The recipient families are selected each year 40 different local schools and agencies, including help from 17 San Pedro school principals and by directors of such San Pedro area service organizations as the YMCA, Salvation Army, Harbor Interfaith, Toberman House, SHAWL House, Boys & Girls Club, 3 San Pedro Adult Schools, House of Hope, Rainbow Services, Harbor View, Hope Chapel, Willenberg School, First Pres Church, LOVE, Inc, Beacon House, Harbor Occupational, Joint Efforts, Habitat for Humanity, Justice for Murdered Children, and families selected by LAPD Harbor Division and the U.S. Military families at Ft. MacArthur.

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