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Community Thanksgiving Dinner draws 550
Center for Human Services-Ceres Partnership puts on annual dinner with volunteer help
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Ceres resident Magdalena Sanchez, an employee with Bank of the West, volunteers to serve Thanksgiving dinners at the Ceres Community Center on Thursday evening. - photo by Jeff Benziger

A hungry crowd of about 550 persons showed up at the Ceres Community Center Thursday evening for a meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetables for the fifth annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

The event was hosted by the Center for Human Services (CHS) and Ceres Partnership but a number of other groups and individuals donated all the food items. Meals were free. Shane Parson of Diamond Bar Arena and Embroidery Plus donated pies and about 25 turkeys which were discounted by Cost Less Foods manager Del Ambris. Other sponsors included the city of Ceres Recreation Division, In-Shape City, Ceres Unified School District and Condit family.

Approximately 260 persons signed up for the 5 p.m. serving and 260 at the 7 p.m. serving.

The news of the dinner was by word of mouth and reservations made in October.

A small army of volunteers assisted in serving the meal, including 17 students from the Project YES program, six members of the Ceres Youth Commission, four students from California State University, Stanislaus, employees from Modern Urgent Care and Bank of the West and the sober living house on North Street. Jose Saldivar, owner of La Cascada Restaurant cooked all of the turkeys.

“We’re very fortunate to have local businesses donate side dishes and the raffle prizes,” said Beatrice Ramirez, program manager for Center for Human Services (CHS)/Ceres Partnership.

Center for Human Services (CHS) is a local non-profit providing services to youth and families throughout Stanislaus County. In Ceres, CHS operates Ceres Partnership, a one-stop shop for families in need. Services offered include school readiness for kids, parenting classes, emergency food and clothing assistance and counseling.

“I like the Center for Human Services,” said Parson. “They do a lot of good for our community.”

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Roy Hawthorne, a Project YES participant, serves up plates of hot turkey and mashed potatoes. - photo by Jeff Benziger
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One of the many children who enjoyed Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday at a community feast held at the Ceres Community Center. - photo by Jeff Benziger