Giving thanks: Real gift foundation feeds 600 families - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Education

Giving thanks: Real gift foundation feeds 600 families

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Posted: Friday, November 23, 2007 12:00 am

The Rivera family of Phoenix will finally have Thanksgiving dinner at home this year. Because of the Real Gift Foundation for Homeless Children and the Kyrene Resource Center, Michelle and Sylvester Rivera will sit down at their own table with children Lexyne, 7, Alex, 5, Sylvester, 2, and Ronaldinho, 11 months, to enjoy Thanksgiving as it should be. "We usually always go to my grandmother's house; this year will be the first time we are able to have Thanksgiving at home," Michelle said. The Real Gift Foundation provided over 600 needy families in the Kyrene School District with Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 21. Each year the foundation asks for $25 donations online through its Web site,, or mail-in checks to its Scottsdale location. Each donation feeds a family of six to eight people, and this year over 21,000 in Maricopa County were fed. Ahwatukee Foothills families picked up boxed dinners - including a pre-cooked turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, dessert, milk, water and more - from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at Kyrene del Milenio Elementary School and Kyrene de las Lomas Elementary School. Families of Title I students, homeless families, refugee families and Kyrene Family Resource Center patrons were eligible to receive meals. "Bashas and Shamrock donated to all schools in the Kyrene School District, especially Title I schools," social worker Jennifer Dennis said. "Roxanne Richardson of the Kyrene Resource Center let those schools know and they called eligible families." Lomas staff called about 50 families, 23 families joined the Riveras and picked up dinners Tuesday. "The principal even took the food to my van," Michelle said. "I just didn't expect that much courtesy. It just blew me away." Michelle, who attended school in the Roosevelt School District growing up, said Lomas has been nothing but help to her since her daughter, Lexyne, started attending the school. "Jennifer Dennis has been very involved with Lexyne and she let me know about all the help I could get today," Michelle said. "It was so simple. I didn't have to fill out any paperwork; I just had to show up." All leftover food was donated to The Rock Church in Mesa, which in turn gave away the dinners Wednesday.

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