"giving Thanks for thanksgiving"
Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving is an annual program which provides 300 or more turkey baskets to those in need in our community. The baskets include potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, fruit and of course, turkey. This one-hour Holiday program includes non alcoholic beverages, chips and snacks. Live worship music and a message of hope is offered, with always an opportunity to come to the altar for God’s healing and restoration.
This year's "Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving" event, was held Monday, November 25, of Thanksgiving week, 2019. The Good Samaritan Training Center distributed 315 tickets to poor and needy families that came through our Center for this year’s program. We had 302 turkeys donated this year, 250 were from KYCC, "Your Christian Companion," 90.1 FM Radio Station, here in Stockton. Another 52 were donated from the 2nd Harvest Food Bank - Feeding America. Along with the turkey, the baskets included stuffing, veggies, canned fruit and a 5-pound bag of potatoes.
As the people entered building #3 of the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds, they were offered cold drinks and snacks before they were seated. The one-hour program included traditional Christian hymns sung by Dan Golightly and Lachelle Block. We had two testimonials: one by Lachelle Block and the other by Good Samaritan Board Member, Rick Flores. They both shared how God can change an extremely dysfunctional lifestyle through repentance, God’s mercy and grace. Along with their powerful testimonies, they shared how God changed their lives. David Cloxton who MC’ed the event, proclaimed “Who is next?“ to the crowd. He also stated that because Jesus is here, miracles can happen.
Board member Bobby Britt, closed with a message asking the crowd “Who is the King of Glory?” He proclaimed God’s power through faith in Jesus Christ. He also gave an opportunity to those who were struggling in their lives to come to the altar for prayer. The altar was full of needy people, not just for the turkey baskets being given out, but needing to be accepted and delivered from their own dysfunctional lifestyles, that have kept them from being productive people in society. The building could be heard with uncontrolled emotions in the presence of God.
The greatest reward of this year’s "Thanks for Thanksgiving" program, wasn’t the stuffed turkey baskets, but the lives that God was changing.
The Good Samaritan Training Center handed out 315 tickets to our Thanksgiving event!
Rick Flores enjoyed sharing his testimony on his new life!
Lachelle Block delivers her life-changing testimony!
Bobby Britt preaches, "Who is the King of Glory?"
For some people, prayer lasted a long time at the altar.
Isaac Flores was excited when we called his name for a brand-new bike.
One of Dreamkeepers' Gold Donors, David Chavez and his daughter Allyssa (in the background,) are table monitors.
Avery Lopez reads the story of the Nativity.
Nearly 1,000 people attended 2019’s Dreamkeeper event.
These foster children are all smiles with their new toys. The youngest won a new bike.
McGruff the Crime Dog greets the kids.
Yian and her children were glad to have a program like Dreamkeeper to go to and have a place to go to for Christmas.
A homeless family felt God’s kindness at Dreamkeeper.
Dreams do come true at Dreamkeeper for Lisa and her children.
CLC’s Acts 29 sings Christmas songs to the children.
Jeremy and Michelle Senseney totally rocked the toy distribution area.
Omar Gonzalez and his staff delivering the 75 bikes they donated!
Laree was thankful for a God-given Christmas.
Dreamkeeper brought good memories to Angela and her children this Christmas.
Teresa had a Christmas tree with no gifts until Dreamkeeper came along.
A Christmas Tree with no Gifts Teresa Miller
Right now, I’m enrolled at Delta College in an accounting class. My husband has a part-time job at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds and that does not pay the bills. We recycle cans and bottles and it helps pay our bills. We have a Christmas tree at home with no gift under it, and we have a 7-year-old boy named Quintin. This year the only thing that is going to change that is the Operation Dreamkeeper program. I am thankful for their program that will bring a Christmas party and a gift to my son. Yay! He will have a gift under the tree. Thanks, Good Samaritan.
Good Memories Angeline Natera
I am a single mother of 6 and at the age of 34 I am still raising my children. My income is Welfare and it barely pays my bills. At Christmastime usually there is no gifts for my children because I am broke. My boyfriend Salvador which was the father of 1 of my children died suddenly of a brain aneurysm which also made things hard. The father of my other kids is not in our lives either. Without a father in my children’s lives it is very hard for me. These things are all bad memories. It means a lot to me that 3 of my children will be invited to the Dreamkeeper Christmas party and get a gift and maybe win a new bike. I am hoping that this party will help take away all of our problems for a while and bring good memories at Christmastime.
Keeping Christmas Dreams Alive Lisa Minnieweather
I am a single mom raising 4 children. My twins are 6 years-old-a boy named Arron and a girl named Rebecca. I also have a 8 year-old girl named Lisa and a 10 year-old girl Aroney. I am also disabled because I was in a very bad car accident and my leg got crushed. I receive $860 monthly from SSI and $547 from Welfare. Between my $750 rent payment and the rest of all my bills they total around $1,200 a month. That leaves me around $183 a month to live on and that’s really hard.
I just got out of the hospital again December 6 with more health problems after being admitted for 2 days. I heard about the Good Samaritan Christmas program for children so I came to the ministry to pick-up 4 tickets for all of my kids. I’m really struggling right now raising my 4 kids and Dreamkeeper will be giving to us a real Christmas celebration. We were told the hour-long Christmas party will have live Christmas music, 75 bike giveaways, a Nativity scene that shows the reason of Christmas which is the birth of Jesus. Without a program like this for me there would be little to celebrate. Thank-you Dreamkeeper for keeping the dreams of my kids alive at Christmas time.
Christmas Without a Home Yian Suephanh
I am a single parent raising my children, my girl Alissa is 8 and my other girl Juliette is 5. I was in an unstable relationship for many years with my ex-boyfriend. He’s the father of my two children. We would party a lot which included drugs and alcohol. We fought a lot. We were together for about 6 years and toward the end of my relationship with him he was physically and emotionally abusing me. I had to leave. I reached out to some friends and they told me about the women’s shelter program at the Gospel Rescue Mission. They help out single mothers with children that have been living in an abusive relationship. They offered us a safe place to stay and I accepted. I’ve been there for almost a year and things are getting better.
Through CalWORKs I’m receiving job training and for the last 4 months I’ve been volunteering at the Good Samaritan 2nd Chance Thrift store. This December I have been clean & sober for 20 months. I saw the Dreamkeeper poster in the thrift store with my daughter Alissa and she wanted to be signed up to go. I talked to a Good Samaritan staff and I received my tickets. My two girls are happy and excited that they can go to the Dreamkeeper Christmas party and receive gifts. With living in a shelter, it is hard to have a family Christmas and without the Dreamkeeper Christmas program we wouldn’t have Christmas at all. I feel blessed to be invited to a program like this at the time of our need and like to thank the Good Samaritan for supporting my family over the Christmas season.
Thankful that God Provides Laree Rodriguez
My name is Laree and I have been using drugs daily for 15 years. I asked God to help me stop and he did. I am living in a sober living home called Lily Pad living and am now 3 months clean. I have 3 of my children living with me so it makes my rent higher- $700 because they include the kids. My welfare is $807 a month so there is no way to be able to get any Christmas gifts this year for my kids. Also, the rule at the house is we are not able to buy gifts for our children because the other children may get jealous.
I have no family. One of my children’s dad is in prison and the other dad is deceased. My father committed suicide and my mom died of breast cancer. I am so grateful that the Good Samaritan has this program so at least my son can have a Christmas celebration and a gift because my other children are too young. I really like the fact they will teaching about the birth of Jesus-the real meaning of Christmas. Operation Dreamkeeper is another step in the right direction for my kids now that I am sober. I am so thankful to the Good Samaritan.
Season of Kindness Jane Pratt
The Good Samaritan Center and Dream Keepers are a vehicle who actively meet the basic needs of many members of our Stockton community. I'm Sister Jane, a retired single person who experienced their work first hand. Let me share how they met the needs of a very special family, and helped made me" Sister Grandma." In May 2019, I was loading some groceries in my truck and one of the food banks when, I saw a mother and three little children happily coming from the community lunch program. As they passed by the oldest of the kids (7) said to me I like your dress. I replied thank you; I like your hair, then the tiny girl (4) said I like your truck. I laughed and said well I like your big blue eyes... The Mom turned around and gave a huge bright smile. I said to them" kindness is contagious!". I watched them as they walked under a bridge thinking they were going to go to their car. Instead I saw them walk into a temporary homeless camp of tents under the bridge. I didn't know what to think? I had some toys and kids’ clothes and a new bottle of dawn dish soap that I had bought for my family and grandkids. I put them in a box along with a simple Bible study booklet and some cards/tracts from my church.
I went under the bridge and asked the mom if her kids could have the toys. She took the box and took out the house hold items. She gave the kids the box. They were excited to get the toys. Then the little girl 7 yelled” Mommy... That's our church... That's where you got baptized.” She then explained, about seven months before she was in a shelter and a CLC church bus picked them up along with the other shelter residents and took them to church. That night the mom said she got baptized there. I thought to myself... That's a homeless sister in Christ and her family. We prayed right there and it began our friendship.
Over the next few months Good Samaritan Center provided food and clothing to them. Then they were signed up for Operation Dreamkeepers, where they got toys for Christmas and one child won a bicycle. It helped me so much to be able to help them to have a blessed Christmas. They are now truly the family of God. And I'm their Sister Grandma. Thank you, Operation Dreamkeepers, Good Samaritan Center, Brother and Sister Cloxton. God bless your ministry to the Stockton community.
Special Thanks to All of Our Sponsors
San Joaquin County Fairgrounds-Steve Colangelo CEO-for the generous use of building # 2, tables, chairs and rails.
(FOR ALL YOUR EVENT LOCATION NEEDS CALL 209-466-5041)
Christian Life Center
V.I.P.S (Volunteers in Police Service), to help with the event’s security
Patricia A. Miller-Battiste, Stockton Police Department for lending us their McGruff costume
Tim Ulmer of Ulmer Photography for all the great pictures
The Community Centers who did such a great job with signing up the children
Jeremy & Michelle Senseney for volunteering in the toy area
Lighthouse of the Valley, Mark Hall, for the Nativity
To all the other volunteers who helped with all the duties
Special Thanks to Our Golden Donors
Omar & Lisa Gonzales & The Crew of Platinum Insulation for donating 75 bikes and many premium gifts
Michael Spanos and the A.G. Spanos Family Trust Management
David and Allyssa Chavez
Special Thanks to Our Silver Donors:
Daniel & Paula Purviance
Ed Machado/Rivercrest Transport
Special Thanks to our Supporting Cast:
Eddie & Tammy Friesen
Kevin & Teresa Christian
David & Loretta Cloxton
Jim & Linda Nicolaou