Legacy Charitable Foundation Distributes 162 Food Boxes for Thanksgiving

The Legacy Charitable Foundation’s third annual Thanksgiving Turkey Brigade looked a little different this year. The non-profit’s Executive Director Jennifer Brown, who started the holiday turkey distribution tradition in 2018, said that in its first two years, the Turkey Brigade served dinner boxes to 625 families and fed 4,964 mouths.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, budgets were tight and volunteers were scarce. But like previous years, the non-profit rallied local schools and organizations like the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office to package and distribute dinner boxes for families struggling on Thanksgiving.

On November 24, organizers and volunteers gave out 162 boxes filled with turkey, corn, green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, apple juice, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes to families in need. A voucher was provided to every family ahead of the event so they could receive the dinner boxes in time for the holiday. Families who couldn’t drive to the downtown L.A. pickup location had the option of having it delivered to their doors.

“When we see a need we always 100 percent try to see how we can help out,” Brown said. “It is a very big blessing. It’s something that’s beyond us, a lot bigger than us. This is paying it forward.”

Legacy Charitable Foundation provided meals to families in Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Bakersfield, East Los Angeles, South Central, Long Beach, Compton, the San Fernando Valley and even as far as Fontana. Brown said the Foundation usually has 34 to 40 volunteers helping package the boxes, but this year, to meet social distancing requirements, they only had 12.

“Board of Directors of the “Legacy Charitable Foundation” is (from Left to right)
Michael Sabet, Abraham Mehrian, Dr. Gonzalo Cruz-Schiavone AKA Dr. Gonzalo, Manny Gonzalez, Jennifer Brown

Although Brown was preparing to downsize the number of boxes they would send out, a Thanksgiving “miracle” came through last minute to provide extra funds so the foundation could overreach their goal. Brown said they were able to give out 162 boxes instead of their original goal of 150.

Michael Sabet, vice president of Strategic Legacy Investment Group Inc. and Founder of Legacy Charitable Foundation, told the Journal that many nonprofits who usually provide food on Thanksgiving have struggled for donations this year. He added that L.A. City Sheriff Alex Villanueva was grateful for the work they did because they were struggling to find donations.

Many nonprofits who usually provide food on Thanksgiving have struggled for donations this year.

“I was speaking to Sheriff [Villanueva] and he does three [food drives] a day. He said this year he has seen the most need for this. It’s been the worst in terms of people needing [food] in any other year he can remember,” Sabet said.

Sheriff Villanueva didn’t just come by to make an appearance. Manny Gonzalez, manager for the non-profit Maravilla Foundation and co-founder of the Legacy Foundation, said he brought some of his deputies to participate. He said, “In turn they went out to the community and found [families] who were really really in need. He spent a lot of time [finding them] and bringing them to us.”

The non-profit takes part in helping the community yearly through annual Turkey Brigade boxed dinners, Toy Drive Wish Lists for sick and disabled children, programs for children and other efforts to feed the homeless around Los Angeles.

Legacy Charitable Foundation was established in 2015 in the Downtown Los Angeles Fashion District by Jewish founders Abraham Mehrian, Michael Sabet, Emanuel Sabet, Daniel Sabet and Manny Gonzalez. Their goal was to help the homeless, support disabled and sick youth and provide aid and resources to low-income family living residences.

Gonzalez added that the families who received Thanksgiving dinner boxes this year roughly receive a median household income of $35,000 to $42,000.

“A lot of them are single mothers, they have three or four or five kids. I know a couple of families personally where the husbands just lost their jobs. So this is really helpful for them at this point,” Gonzalez said. “We do our best to focus on the impoverished communities…It’d be great to help out even more.”

Both Brown and Gonzalez are grateful to everyone who helped them achieve their goal this year. The pandemic has impacted so many this year and this was one way to give back.

“This was just a blessing,” Brown said. “It was a very huge group effort to make this happen. The fact that we were even able to do that this year was a miracle.”

“Because of the pandemic, many of these people have lost their jobs, they’ve lost their ability to be self-sufficient and be able to provide a meal for their families,” Gonzalez added. “Not only do we provide the food we are providing a little bit of hope to keep them moving forward. This is a labor of love because all of us are volunteers.”

For more information on how to volunteer for future events visit the website.

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