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Riverbank Cares Hosts Christmas Giveaway
There were turkeys, chickens, and hams given to several families to help get them through the Christmas holiday given out by a band of volunteers with Riverbank Cares. Virginia Still/The News

The Friday before Christmas featured the traditional Riverbank Cares food distribution at the Riverbank Community Center from 10 a.m. until noon.

Officials said they had 212 families participating, from one to six or seven in a family.

Organizers opened the doors early because people were lined up prior to the 10 a.m. start time and there was definitely a chill in the air. There were people from all areas all over Riverbank that participated in the Food Giveaway.

Once again, those hosting the event said they had plenty of food to offer people. They were given items like turkey, chicken, canned ham, canned food vegetables, stuffing, potatoes, rice, bread, cookies, pastries, rolls, and a few extras like apples and bananas. Save Mart donated about 25 Christmas Trees to families that wanted one. There were about 78 deliveries that were taken to people that couldn’t make it to the Community Center, with the food items delivered by volunteers.

Carla Strong of Riverbank Cares added that the group formed with the help of such city leaders as Richard and Julie Boos, Scott McRitchie, Lynda Silva and more, working together as a group of dedicated, concerned people who had a vested interest in Riverbank.

“We quickly realized that a lot of people resist donating to a cause associated with a specific church or religion,” noted Strong. “Our goal is to feed those in need in Riverbank regardless of their religious preference so we formed an official nonprofit in the last 18 months.”

On the food distribution day, Strong added, an entire group of nonprofits come together to make the giveaway happen. Riverbank Rotary goes in teams to deliver food to disabled and elderly who cannot come to the distribution site. High School students volunteer to carry food to the car for those who can’t do it for themselves.

“I love being the greeter at the front of the line so I can talk to everybody when they come through, I’ve come to know most of them now,” Strong said.

Not only did many families in Riverbank go home with food items to help them enjoy a festive holiday meal, there were also coloring books and toys for children, adding to the festive mood at distribution day.