Local group caters to needy families with special night

‘I Love Morgan Hill’ volunteers serve dinner, supply jackets, gifts

‘I Love Morgan Hill’ volunteers serve up hot meals for the attendees at the Dec. 14 outreach holiday event hosted by the Cathedral of Faith.

Dinner for 575 people was gleefully served up by members of the “I Love Morgan Hill” outreach group, which also supplied 850 winter jackets and 600 toy gifts to needy families as part of its eighth annual holiday event.

“We can all be in this situation. We’re all one paycheck away,” said longtime organizer Josie Scott. “We want them to feel they are valued, they are loved and it doesn’t matter the situation you are in. You’re loved and important.”

Julie Dominguez, 6, and Yarelli Dominguez, 9, get a special moment with Santa during the Dec. 14 holiday giveaway hosted by the Cathedral of Faith.

Held at the Cathedral of Faith congregation inside the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, parishioners and other volunteers facilitated a special night that started with a sliced turkey breast holiday dinner served with corn, fruit, bread, salad and dessert—all donated by Martha’s Kitchen.

“It’s just so important for us to give back to the community, whether it’s food or staying warm or gifts for the children,” said Lisa Ellis, head of the kitchen brigade since the event’s inception. “It’s great to be able to help families that are in need.”

This major outreach project is made possible through the support of I Love Morgan Hill, Cathedral of Faith, Martha’s Kitchen, Golden Eagle Mortgage and Gilroy Elk’s Lodge #1567.

“I come back every year because there’s a need within our community,” said this year’s lead organizer Robin Tokiwa, a retired San Jose police officer. “I come to this event to see the joy on the children’s faces when they get a new jacket or a toy.”

Attendees must fill out a registration form, including contact information and family size before entering the city’s 4,030 square foot banquet room for a sit-down dinner with festive holiday music to set the mood.

After dinner, families made their way to the toy room where special gifts were passed out to the children and winter jackets were available in an adjacent room. The special night also included a trip to Santa’s Village, where families were treated to photographs with Santa along with free printouts.

On their way out, guests were able to pick up a bag of groceries filled with staples and other goodies from the Second Harvest Food Bank.

“We meet the needs of the community and that gives me great satisfaction,” Tokiwa added. “I believe you should give back in the community you live in. At Cathedral of Faith, we take care of our community first.”

The holiday dinner and giveaway is just one of the many outreach events organized by the Cathedral of Faith, including its family harvest food program where a free dinner is served on the second Tuesday of each month at the CCC.

The Cathedral of Faith’s Morgan Hill chapter has grown to more than 250 strong since it was established more than 10 years ago as part of a much larger 12,000-member national movement.

“I think we sometimes lose sight of what’s important and that’s helping others and being kind to one another,” Scott said. “We all need to support each other.”

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