Community Stories

CYC and partners add holiday cheer

As the fall breeze whistled through the streets of Bayview, Excelsior and the Richmond, CYC orchestrated another heartwarming Thanksgiving turkey giveaway on November 16, 2023. As part of an ongoing effort to open access to food to underserved communities, CYC gave away a total of 160 turkeys this year to families in need.

The Bayview Community Center buzzed with energy as 30 seniors gathered for the Turkey Giveaway special ceremony. CYC kicked off the event by offering invaluable tips on holiday and food safety. The message was clear: celebrate joyfully with your families, but responsibly. CYC staff members led the session and talked about the dangers of drinking and driving, leaving candles unattended, and other common holiday safety mistakes.

The atmosphere was festive as senior members of the community chattered with each other, exchanging tips about how they cook turkeys. The highlight of the ceremony was the distribution of 100 turkeys and meals to low-income families. Moonstar Charitable Organization, a new sponsor, joined forces with CYC to provide delicious meals to go with the turkeys. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) played a crucial role by generously supplying all the turkeys to ensure that no one went without a holiday feast.

Senator Scott Wiener, acknowledging the multilingual nature of the Bayview community, began his address in both Cantonese and English. His Cantonese was met with impressed chuckles and a round of applause. He expressed empathy for families struggling with food access in such a prosperous city. Senator Wiener shed light on the challenges Californians face in accessing food benefits, emphasizing the state’s commitment to improving systems for better access.

Supervisor Shamann Walton of District 10 continued the conversation, addressing the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security. He stressed the importance of coming together during the holidays and supporting one another in the face of adversity.

Caleb Chan, Director of Development at Moonstar Charitable Organization, and Jaynry Mak, CYC Board Chair, further echoed these sentiments, highlighting the vital role community organizations play in delivering services to those in need.

When asked why California needs to continue partnering with organizations like CYC, Senator Wiener stated, “We have a responsibility to provide a safety net for food or senior services, and supporting our young people. And we know the most efficient way to deliver services is through community organizations like CYC that have on-the-ground support.”

Later on Clement Street in the Richmond district, CYC distributed 35 turkeys to seniors in need. Supervisor for District 1, Connie Chan beamed with pride as she interacted with the excited seniors and later passed out meals to community members.

The seniors, appreciative of the dedication shown by CYC, voiced their thanks. One member on her way out nodded gratefully to CYC Program Manager Ka Yi Lau, who oversaw the Richmond giveaway event, and said, “Thank you, thank you CYC. Thank you for always caring about us.”

Michael Wong, CYC Senior Program Director, who led the Bayview ceremony, mused at the end of the event, “Every year this reminds me how important our work is and also how important it is that we give families a chance to celebrate with each other.”