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Hungry families await boxes of food provided by the ROCK Christian Fellowship. Photos courtesy of Greggory Sanders.

It is an alarming fact that 1 in 6 Americans face hunger—and Los Angeles County is no stranger to this number, with the latest data from 2011 showing that nearly 1.75M county residents face daily food insecurity, with 650,480 of those being children. This isn’t to mention the nearly $100B Americans waste in food alone, with 14% of that waste being perfectly edible food such as unexpired, unopened canned food.

And due to the small-but-mighty efforts of Pastor Greggory Sanders and Long Beach’s ROCK Christian Fellowship, 501 of those families facing food insecurity did not do so last Thanksgiving through the church’s Renewable Hope Project.

“Each year during the Thanksgiving season we experience an increase in requests for food assistance,” Sanders said. “It is out of that recognition and reality we have made a commitment to provide as much thanksgiving assistance each year as possible. We have become extra sensitive to the Thanksgiving season because of the higher level of family anxiety resulting from a lack of provisions.”

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 5.39.22 AMThis year marks the project’s fifth anniversary in handing out massive food boxes that can feed four to six people. The box is filled with traditional Thanksgiving fare—from potatoes to yams, green beans to stuffing—and provides, even for just a moment, a sense of escape from daily hardships at a time when mental distress increases due to the holidays.

And as Sanders points out, too often the comfort of being a comfortable American makes one all too easily forget that not everyone in this country is as blessed.

“I believe that since we have multiple world organizations and mission programs who provide tremendous services world-wide, its easy to forget that many of our neighbors right next door to us need assistance as well,” Sanders said. “Our philosophy is that the most efficient outreach begins with an effective ‘in-reach.’ If we fortify our city, we reinforce the world.”

The Renewable Hope Thanksgiving Food Project 2013 will take place on Saturday November 23, from 8AM to noon, or until supplies run out. The project will provide food boxes at the Central Facility Center, located at 1133 Rhea Street. For more information or to ask questions, call 562-597-7481 or visit

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