Officers from the Santa Barbara chapter of the California Highway Patrol will hand out turkeys as well as tickets this Thanksgiving season for locals who cannot afford to finance their own feasts.
The CHP started collecting donations Nov. 7 for its third annual “CHiP-in” Thanksgiving food drive. Donations of non-perishable food and whole turkeys will be collected at the CHP office at 6465 Calle Real in Goleta until Tuesday, Nov. 22.
CHP spokesman Officer Donald Clotworthy said the CHP hosts the food drive each year to help ensure that everyone in the Santa Barbara area has an opportunity to enjoy Thanksgiving, regardless of their financial means.
“We always have to remember the less fortunate,” Clotworthy said. “Regardless of circumstances or income level, everyone is entitled to a Thanksgiving dinner.”
All non-perishable food items collected in the drive will go to the Santa Barbara County Food Bank in Santa Maria, Clotworthy said. He said the food drive has always been very successful and locals are often generous in their donations.
“You can count cans, but we are usually measuring [the food] in terms of poundage,” Clotworthy said. “The generosity of the community really comes out.”
Clotworthy said the CHP is also collecting entire turkeys to donate to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. The turkeys will be served at the mission’s annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless Nov. 23.
Derika Brendsel, assistant to the president of the Rescue Mission, said the mission is primarily a drug and alcohol recovery program, but the organization also runs the only year-round homeless shelter in the county. On average, he said, the mission serves 600 meals a day and an extra 300 to 400 meals on Thanksgiving.
The Rescue Mission gets most of its food from donations and Brendsel said he hopes to receive approximately 1,000 turkeys for its Thanksgiving dinner.
Organizations and local residents can contribute to the drive by donating food at the CHP office or by picking up a CHP donation box and collecting food on their own. Clotworthy said officers also plan to provide information about traffic safety to people as they collect food for the campaign.