Thanksgiving is just days away, and while most will spend the holiday with family and friends, others will rely on organizations like The Jesus Center for a meal. " We're known as providing meals for homeless people, but we provide a lot of meals for people who's money runs out towards the end of the month", said Jesus Center Executive Director Bill Such.
The Jesus center is expecting more than 400 will depend on them this Thanksgiving, and so far there won't be enough food to go around. The center still needs 30 more turkeys along with side dishes like potatoes, rolls and butter. And it's not just the holidays. The center has seen a spike in the number of those in need. Last year more than 100,000 meals were served in total for the year, that's up from 63,000 in 2006. " It's people who for whatever reason who are coming in to see us who can't make ends meet", said Such. Christina Owen, a Chico resident who depends on The Jesus Center adds, " I don't believe I would actually be here really, I think that maybe I would be living out on the streets under a bridge somewhere actually if it wasn't for The Jesus Center".
The Jesus Center isn't alone. The Salvation Army in Chico will also have nearly 500 depending on them this Thanksgiving. The organization has plenty of turkeys, but still needs the traditional fixings like pies, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and coffee. " What we are unable to collect now during this time of year to meet those needs will affect us as we go forward in our new fiscal year", said Captain Darren Stratton with the Chico Salvation Army.
Both organizations are hopefull the local community will step up to help with the food donations, as it has in years past. To help ensure no one goes hungry this Thanksgiving. " Whenever you give out of what you have or your abundance, I believe that's a really good thing", said Such.