By Crystal Harrell

November festivities have reached the Coachella Valley, and while food and family might be on the forefront of everyone’s minds right now as they scramble to get that perfect Thanksgiving turkey, it is also important to help those in need this approaching holiday season. There are many wonderful organizations here in the desert that strive to make a difference this Thanksgiving, with the community encouraged to participate for a great cause.

The Fortem Financial Thanksgiving Day 5K benefitting Martha’s Village & Kitchen will be returning this year and the need for public participation is greater than ever.  The public is encouraged to participate this Thanksgiving weekend and take action against food insecurity and homelessness in the Coachella Valley.

Those interested in participating can register as an individual, start a team, or join an existing team. Segments of the Fortem Financial Thanksgiving Day 5K benefitting Martha’s Village & Kitchen will be recorded and available for viewing throughout the weekend on NBC Palm Springs. This is a chance for family and friends to gather or to create your own team and get ready to run or walk. Those participating in the 5k are also encouraged to post pictures and tag @MarthasVilllage or hashtag #MVK5K on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and show their spirit.

FIND Food Bank is also looking to make a difference this season. FIND Food Bank’s 44 monthly Community Mobile Market Distributions help reach “Food Deserts”, which are remote, underserved communities that lack regular access to affordable food. These Community Mobile Markets also help ensure that there is equitable food access to all food insecure people in the service area.

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FIND’s Mobile Markets distribute free healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to support the creation of healthy meals for individuals and families. The USDA My Plate is utilized for recommended servings for a balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy and grains. The free Community Mobile Markets offer a variety of choices from each of the categories that allow families and individuals the ability to customize their selections based on their cultural, religious, and dietary needs.

FIND Food Bank also launched a Home Bound Delivery Program in 2020 in response to the stay-at-home orders mandated by the State of California. Through this program, volunteers utilize their own vehicles to deliver 40-50 pounds of food to families and individuals who are isolated or unable to collect food via the various distribution sites throughout the region. FIND Food Bank is committed to continuing this program beyond the pandemic in order to best serve vulnerable and isolated clients. To donate or volunteer, visit findfoodbank.org.

The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission has a new holiday meal schedule for this Thanksgiving.

A Thanksgiving Dinner will be held on Wednesday, November 24 at 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Breakfast will take place on Thursday, November 25 at 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. Another Thanksgiving Dinner will be held on Thursday, November 25 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission has a goal of serving 10,000 meals during their Thanksgiving dinner service. They are in need of donations, such as potatoes, pies, rolls and butter, fresh vegetables, and canned gravy. The public can drop off donations at 47470 Van Buren St. in Indio.

The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission also serves the community by offering quality, affordable catering. The Mission Catering is managed by professional chefs who create delicious dishes, perfect for your next event. The residents participating in this program gain valuable knowledge and experience for future employment in the culinary field. The catering staff is made of clients and graduates of CVRM, and all proceeds go towards CVRM Programs. To learn more about how to donate or volunteer, visit cvrm.org.