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Thanksgiving feasts offered
City Recreation Department, Rotarians host separate meals
Senior Thanksgiving meals 2022
Ceres residents Berlinda Phillips (left) and Martha Duran enjoyed laughter in between eating Thanksgiving luncheon at the Ceres Community Center on Friday. - photo by Jeff Benziger

The holidays bring about the spirit of giving which has led to a number of Thanksgiving dinners provided to locals.

About 70 seniors enjoyed an early Thanksgiving luncheon at the Ceres Community Center with ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and all the extra Friday thanks to some very generous donations.

On Friday evening, members of the Ceres Rotary Club and its high school Interact Club served up approximately 500 Thanksgiving dinners to south Modesto families Friday evening as part of their extensive service to the community inside the Salvation Army Red Shield gymnasium. The club spent approximately $4,000 on the community meal.

The idea for the city meal came after the Ceres Recreation Department hosted a Fourth of July breakfast for seniors. City of Ceres Recreation Manager Joey Chavez began thinking and planning the Thanksgiving event but faced the task of coming up with the funds to pull it off. That’s where Ceres Roping Arena owner Shane Parson stepped up with a $500 donation which covered most of the food costs. The rest was covered by anonymous donors who have a heart for older citizens.

Chavez expected 40 to sign up ahead of time but the number grew to 70.

Most of those who turned out for the special meal – which was served up by Chavez and his staff, members of the Ceres High School FFA and Vice Mayor Bret Silveira – appreciated the effort and thought the meal was delicious. Among them was Lorenzo Cumbie, a Ceres resident who brought down his mother, Alice Cumbie. They appreciated the effort of Chavez and Tracie Ferguson who reported to the kitchen at 5 a.m. to prepare everything.

The special meal – which also included green bean casserole, gravy, buns and desserts – is separate from the senior meal program which is offered Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Ceres Community Center. Seniors in Ceres aged 60 and older are invited to have lunch at the newly created “Community Center Café.” Since it started up in May, numbers have climbed from one in attendance to sometimes 30.

The center opens at 11 a.m. for coffee and social time and lunch served from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Seniors are also welcome to play cards and watch TV in the Senior Lounge.

Meals are prepared by the United Samaritans Foundation in Turlock and transported to Ceres.

There is no cost for the meal but a box for the suggested donation of $3 per person is available. No eligible participant will be denied due to inability to pay. Guests under 60 are welcome but must pay the full cost of the meal which is currently $6.

Reservations are encouraged at least a day prior to ensure an adequate number of meals will be available. Phone the Senior Information line at (209) 558-8698.

The program is not to be confused with the Senior, Inc., gatherings twice a month over potlucks at the Ceres American Legion Memorial Building.

Lorenzo Cumbie and his mother Alice Cumbie
Lorenzo Cumbie and his mother Alice Cumbie, both of Ceres, showed up for the free Thanksgiving luncheon on Friday. - photo by Jeff Benziger
Salvation army thanksgiving 2022
One-year-old Daleyza Moreno (center) enjoyed pumpkin pie between her parents, Marisol Vargas and Conrado Moreno, at Friday's Salvation Army Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by members of the Ceres Rotary Club.
Liz Hosmer and Josiah Sandoval
Ceres Rotary Club President Liz Hosmer hands off a tray of dinners to Central Valley High School Interact Club member Josiah Sandoval at the Thanksgiving Dinner served as the Salvation Army Red Shield Center. - photo by Jeff Benziger
Jose and Carrianne Gallo
Ceres Rotary Club membeCeres Rotary Club member Jose Gallo and wife Carrianne serve up food at the Red Shield Center in south Modesti. serve up food at the Red Shield Center in south Modesti. - photo by Jeff Benziger