For the fourth consecutive year, members of the Coronado community united to deliver an early Thanksgiving dinner to homeless and disadvantaged families of children attending Monarch School of San Diego.

A total of 52 turkeys, 60 quarts of gravy and cases of whipped cream and sparkling cider transited the bridge on Saturday to the school’s Barrio Logan campus in support of Project Connect’s Fall Festival. The event served 135 families, feeding some 600 people. Due to COVID-19 conditions, this year’s festival was a carryout affair. Our Coronado volunteer group donated canvas tote bags that had been hand decorated by Coronado Silver Strand Elementary School students.

Monarch is the only school in the country dedicated exclusively to serving children affected by homelessness. The institution educates, feeds, clothes and counsels students and their families. It helps children who have felt the fear, insecurity and anguish of homelessness to overcome the trauma that comes with that experience.

The Coronado Unified School District played a major role in this year’s effort, donating use of the high school kitchen for turkey preparation and carving and sending teams of volunteers to the prep site and to Monarch to assist in the distribution of the meal. Coronado High School (CHS) Athletic Director Robin Nixon volunteered onsite at CHS and Silver Strand teacher Renee Cavanaugh organized the tote bag operation as well as assembling activity kits for children. Thanks also to CUSD Superintendent Karl Mueller and to Child Nutrition Director Charity Campbell for their unwavering support.

A total of 41 home kitchens, joined by the chefs at Little Frenchie Bistro, expertly roasted the turkeys. Specialty Produce of San Diego donated the fresh herbs that graced each bird. Smart & Final of Coronado delivered beautiful turkeys and a generous donation. A team of two dozen volunteers prepped and delivered food and an additional 65 individual Coronadans donated the money that made the effort possible.

All funds raised above the direct costs of turkeys and supplies will be used to fund programs at Monarch.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who made this possible.

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