SLO County Roundup

San Luis Obispo

Friday the 13th was not unlucky for the Food Bank Coalition and the nonprofit agencies and low-income clients who rely on it.

The coalition has announced the results of its first ever turkey drive, held Nov. 13: 725 turkeys, 1,400 pounds of stuffing, canned vegetables and other nonperishables and $12,144 in donations.

“We are so pleased with these numbers,” the coalition said in a news release, “and maybe just a little bit surprised.”

“We know from experience that the generous citizens of our area step forward and help care for others in times like this. But 725 turkeys for our first drive is an amazing result.”

The coalition said the additional food and cash donations will go a long way toward helping people in need during the weeks ahead — not just for Thanksgiving.

The coalition thanked “host organizations with big hearts.” They named Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, both part of Tenet Healthcare, who set up drive-through donation sites in their parking lots, and St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Arroyo Grande, which did the same.

The coalition also thanked Cal Poly fraternities, sororities and nutrition classes, and seniors from Mission View Health Center, among many others.

One oral surgeon’s office staff filled a decorated trash can with food and rolled it over to Sierra Vista. An imaging company’s employees bought 20 turkeys with their holiday fund. “Firefighters, contractors, moms with strollers and bus drivers dropped by to donate,” the coalition wrote.

Carl Hansen, the Food Bank’s executive director, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture just released numbers showing that “hunger in our country is at a 14-year high. In order to pull through, we need to keep pulling together.”

There’s still time to help the Food Bank this holiday season, he said, and advised those interested in helping to learn more at www.slofoodbank.org or call 238-4664.

— Bob Cuddy

Paso Robles

Candles and songbooks will be distributed to those who attend Paso Robles’ annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony just before 6 p.m. Nov. 27.

The 23rd annual event will kick off the holidays in the city with lights and décor downtown. Mrs. Santa Claus and other costumed characters will be at the City Park bandstand at 5:30 p.m.

Mayor Duane Picanco and other city officials will speak, followed by candlelight caroling, free cookies and hot chocolate.

The Paso Robles Main Street Association and local businesses are sponsoring the ceremony.

For more information, call 238-4103.

— Tonya Strickland