Volunteers who gathered to sort and deliver Thanksgiving food baskets the Sunday before Thanksgiving in 2018 included (L-R) front row: Lisa Ortiz, Sophie Sheumaker, Louis Rino, Joey Martinez, DJ Martinez and Sierra Romero; middle row: Justus Dionisio, Adrianna Bachicha, Danielle Lamorie, Giana Vezzani, Victoria Bachicha, Brandon Robinson, Patrick Sandoval, Jasmine Abeyta, Katie Blan, Anthony Arant, Brenna Simpson, Janine Pachelli and Bonnie Pachelli; back row: Chance Wiening, Justin Duran, Janay Jolly, Denise Wichterman, Faye Litzinger, Abe Serna, Giana Glorioso, Gabriela Peraza, Tiana Gonzales, Ben Torres Doxey, Joe Kastner, Brenda Powell, Susan Grubelnick, Diana Kastner and Roberta Noel.

This year will be the 16th year that the Walmart Branch of The First National Bank in Trinidad has sponsored an annual Thanksgiving Food Drive in Trinidad.

Over the past 15 years, countless families have received a Thanksgiving surprise on the Sunday before Thanksgiving when volunteers deliver food baskets and gift certificates for groceries and dining out at local restaurants. “Tears of joy and appreciation flow when we deliver these food baskets,” bank Vice President, Roberta Noel recalls. She has organized the food drive for the Branch for the past 15 years, but this year, it will be organized by Walmart Branch Manager, Marc San Roman, with assistance from Noel.  

For 22 days last year, countless cans of food and cash donations are collected for area families in need. Families without cooking facilities are given gift certificates to go out for a family meal. Families receiving food baskets not only receive all the items needed for a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings, but also a “side-kick” box of food items to help with groceries after the holiday. “We shop all the sales, and in some cases, stores donate some of the food items; this way we are able to really stretch the dollars donated,” says Noel. “Over the years, many families were so overwhelmed that they could not find the words to express their gratitude. The generosity of the people, businesses and organizations in this community is unbelievable.”  

Several bank employees and some of their spouses volunteer to help deliver the food baskets, along with the Trinidad High School Honor Society and their sponsor, Louis Rino. Afterward the group is treated to lunch, provided by Noel.

This year the Walmart Branch is sponsoring the Thanksgiving food drive again. Please donate or volunteer to help. Food items needed include:  Frozen turkey, stuffing, canned yams, canned vegetables, instant potatoes, Jell-O, pumpkin pie, bread, celery, marshmallows, cranberry sauce, gravy, fruit cocktail, dream whip, and fresh fruit. Other everyday staple items that are requested are pasta, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, sugar, flour, cooking oil, pinto beans, tomato paste, tomato sauce, peanut butter and rice. Cash donations are always welcome and much appreciated.

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