Community Involvement

Thanksgiving sees staff helping community; over 400 turkeys donated

California State Employees Food Drive draws support across state

Compiled by Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications

The annual California State Employees Food Drive is a friendly competition between agencies to donate food to their local food banks. The drive runs through the end of December. According to Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, CDCR staff were generous for the first leg of the drive, focusing on Thanksgiving.

Talking turkeys, there were 214 birds donated from California Correctional Health Care Services, 182 for the Division of Adult Institutions, and 53 for the Division of Juvenile Justice, representing a grand total of 449 turkeys from CDCR. Around the state, institutions and programs donated to their local food banks or directly helped families in need by volunteering to serve meals at community dinners.

Men and women stand in front of a Save Mart Supermarkets sign while holding a frozen turkey.
From left are Capt. Patrice Davis, Business Managers Stephanie Cope and Kristin Drummond, AGPAs Tasha Renison and Sonia Mercado, a Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services employee, Lt. Gary Turner and Capt. Mark Tillotson.

Division of Adult Institutions

By Sonia Mercado

CDCR’s Division of Adult Institutions at Headquarters collected money, purchasing 182 turkeys for those in need. A grocery store also donated turkeys, all donated to the Sacramento Food Bank.

Visit the organization’s website to learn more.

Hauling frozen turkeys from the back of an SUV
Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services unloads 53 DJJ donated turkeys.

Division of Juvenile Justice

By Mike Sicilia, photo by Nic Hatfield

The Division of Juvenile Justice headquarters staff donated hundreds of pounds of food. According to research analyst Nic Hatfield, who organized the drive, the final count was 53 birds totaling 764 pounds. Staff delivered the fresh and frozen birds to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services — who in turn distributed them to needy families. Ever the data analyst, Hatfield noted that with 60 DJJ headquarters staff, the haul represented an 88.3% participation rate.

Eight CCHCS staff standing
The CCHCS team delivers their turkeys to the food bank in Sacramento as part of the food drive.

California Correctional Health Care Services

The CCHCS team gathered donations and purchased 214 turkeys for the food drive, donating them to the Sacramento Food Bank.

Men and women stand behind a banner that reads Division of Adult Parole Operations Harbor District, Compton, California.
Parole agents volunteer to serve food at the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinner for families in need.

DAPO, Southern Region, Harbor District

On Nov. 13, the Division of Adult Parole Operations Southern Region, Harbor District, hosted its first Thanksgiving dinner for 35 parolees and their families. DAPO invited families to the Compton Parole Office for coffee and pastries. Agents, in turn, presented families with turkeys and all the fixings. The Harbor District also donated turkeys and trimmings to the Compton Salvation Army, Chapman House, and Menlo House.

On Nov. 25, in the same giving holiday spirit, the Harbor District volunteered at the Compton Salvation Army’s Love Kitchen and helped serve Thanksgiving dinner to local families in need. There was musical entertainment and a toy giveaway as part of the holiday festivities. Agents found it rewarding to volunteer their time to help others and see the smiles and laughter from those served. 

“It is important for parole agents to connect and assist our local communities in need,” said Parole Agent III Irma Gonzalez. “Our involvement with Salvation Army is an example for the next generation of parole agents to get involved and interact positively with the community.”  

A pile of frozen turkeys is in front of a table full of food. Behind the table are two uniformed staff and others in civilian clothing.
CAC staff donated Thanksgiving meals to families in need.

California City Correctional Facility

By Lt. Sharman Parker

California City Correctional Facility staff donated Thanksgiving meals to Bridge for Hope, a local non-profit organization. Bridge for Hope provides weekend bags, break bags, meals, and milk and muffins to families who may need extra help. A donation table was set up at the facility, requesting staff donate items for 15 baskets. Staff went above and beyond, donating a total of 26 food baskets.