Joe Baca Foundation gives out turkeys in Rialto
RIALTO - The city’s representative in Washington, D.C., took time out Tuesday from dealing with a few turkeys on Capitol Hill to hand out a lot of turkeys on Foothill Boulevard.
“You always feel good about helping people and caring about people,” said Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino. “That’s what makes life good, knowing that you’ve touched someone’s life.”
Baca - whose nonprofit, the Joe Baca Foundation, has purchased and delivered turkeys for the past three years, joined his family and about 25 others from various organizations at Coffee Nutz to hand out Thanksgiving birds to families in need.
The foundation expects to hand out 500 turkeys this year, up 100 from a year ago, said Councilman Joe Baca Jr.
Some families signed up for the turkeys through local community groups, while others walked in from the neighborhood, drawn by Bernie the mascot from the Inland Empire 66ers.
The families quietly and gratefully received their turkeys and walked home.
The Rialto High School varsity girls basketball team skipped an early morning practice to help out at the event.
Coach Mike Anderson said the girls were going to have a light shootaround in preparation for a game later that night. Instead, they loaded turkeys into cars.
“It’s a little tougher than the practice at 5:30 a.m.,” Anderson said.
One local pastor said the need for good deeds this year is noticeably greater than in the past.
“When you talk to someone, their whole demeanor is a little bit different, they’re drawn away a little bit,” said Markeith White, assistant pastor of Big For Christ Christian Center in San Bernardino. “Once you begin to talk to them a little bit more you see what’s really going on. You get more of an understanding. There’s an extreme need.”
The director of an outreach to American Indians said she sees the same thing.
Carol Ray of the Fontana Native American Indian Center picked up 14 turkeys and gave them away by noon.
“I could’ve gone away with another 15,” she said.
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer