Come Thanksgiving time, most of us struggle to find room in our refrigerator for the big bird we buy. As of today, Ruby Kaho must find room for 40 of them.
"We received a donation from AAA; we receive from them every year."
Kaho is the kitchen manager for Samaritan House in San Mateo, a support services agency set up to help members of the community in need.
Thursday morning, AAA of Northern California brought Kaho and Samaritan House more than 500 pounds of nourishment: some 40 frozen turkeys. It's a big part of the grocery list needed to feed between 400 and 500 people Thanksgiving Day.
It's estimated Samaritan House will see about a 10% increase in demand this year. The Thanksgiving meal Ruby and her kitchen gang prepare is actually served at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in San Mateo.
Samaritan House reaches out to the community to provide a traditional holiday meal for those who need a little help, and for those who may be alone and wish to spend part of the day with company.
"When you walk in that door at the King Center and you're really tired it's worth it," says Kaho. She pauses, and she smiles. "You look at the family and the kids, they're sitting there, as a family."
The organization will be roasting 130 turkeys on Thanksgiving. In addition to the large feed at the King Center, 80 residents of St. Mathews Hotel in downtown San Mateo will be fed by Samaritan House, and the agency will deliver about 100 Thanksgiving meals to elderly and shut-ins in the North Central neighborhood.
Kaho has been doing this for about 12 years. But what about her Thanksgiving?
"That's my Thanksgiving, and I love it. Every year I look forward to it."
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center is located at 725 Monte Diablo Avenue in San Mateo. The Thanksgiving meal is served between 12 noon and 3:30p.m. There is also a in Redwood City and the Safe Harbor Shelter in South San Francisco.
In addition to the Thanksgiving Day meals, the Samaritan House Holiday Program provides thousands of clients with non-perishable food and grocery store gift certificates in November and December, before the two big holidays. Toys and gifts are also given to children and teens up to age 16.
You can find more information about the Samaritan House online, or you can call (650) 523-0814. If you're interested in volunteering call a different number, (650) 523-0831.