By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer
Holidays are a time of compassion and goodwill to all and to ensure everyone experiences the joys of Thanksgiving, the Victory Center Rescue Mission in Clinton will host the annual Great Thanksgiving Banquet.
For more than 26 years, the Victory Center has sponsored the Thanksgiving banquet, but without the support of the community and other major sponsors, the banquet would not be a possibility.
“We’re always asking people to get involved with us,” Victory Center CEO Pastor Ray Gimenez said. “The only way we can continue to help is to get the people of Clinton behind us.”
In order to provide meals for more than 600 people as the Victory Center has in the past, an annual food drive takes place leading up to the Nov. 23 Thanksgiving banquet at Ashford University. The food drive kicks off today, with drop-off locations all around the Clinton area.
Major sponsors of the event include Air Control Inc., Mercy Medical Center, Walmart, DHCU Credit Union and Pizza Ranch in Clinton. Typically participants would receive a brown, paper donation bag in their copy of the Clinton Herald, but this year things are happening a little differently.
Instead of providing the bag, this year the Clinton Herald advertising department has decided to have residents bring their food donations in on their own and receive a complimentary tote bag for participating.
Donations can be made at all major sponsor locations, at the Clinton Herald and at minor sponsor locations, which include Don’s Jewelry, Clinton National Bank, Banner Home Furnishings, Great Clips, Browns Shoe Fit Co., Wilson’s Floral and Gifts and Turner Appliance.
Gimenez and the Victory Center are looking for donations of canned goods, turkeys and dessert options like pie and cake. All donations will either be cooked into the meal at the banquet, or will be given away in food boxes distributed at the end of the night.
“The food drive basically, really helps deflate the cost of our operation, because a lot of the canned goods are cooked into the meal, and then we give it away,” Gimenez said.
Gifts such as bicycles, televisions and money will also be raffled away at the Thanksgiving banquet throughout the night.
It is because of the tremendous amount of support from the community that any of this is possible according to Gimenez, but the important part is getting support for the food drive, an event that all the sponsors are happy to be a part of.
“The Clinton Herald is very appreciative to participate along with our sponsors as collection points for this annual event,” Clinton Herald Publisher Ron Gutierrez said. “Our goal is single minded in the effort to help the Victory Center provide food and food baskets for people in our community.”