LANCASTER – Hundreds of residents flocked to University of Antelope Valley Saturday morning (Dec. 8) for a healthy helping of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberries, fresh salad, yams, and dinner rolls, with a little pumpkin or apple pie for desert.
The free holiday dinner with all the trimmings was part of UAV’s 6th Annual Caring for the Community event.
“We’re sharing our blessings for the season and giving to those in our own community that might be in some kind of need,” said UAV CEO Sandra Johnson. “Our students and our chefs cooked a very nice turkey with all the fancy trimmings and deserts from scratch, and we just opened it up to the entire community for free.”
Saturday’s event also featured Santa Claus, with plenty of toys for all the good boys and girls.
The toys came courtesy of Together In Faith and Family (TIFF), an organization founded by Miss Lancaster Tiffany Johnson.
“What I do is I ask the youth in our community to come together and donate clothes and toys to the children in need in this town…” Tiffany Johnson said. “To let people know you are loved, you have toys here, and we’re here for you as a family and as a community.”
TIFF was able to gather more than 1,300 new toys and raise more than $5,000 for Saturday’s event alone, Tiffany Johnson said.
“I thank God for everything he’s given to me, so now it’s time for me to give back,” she said. “It’s time for me to say ‘you guys deserve a smile on your face for Christmas.’”
Every 10 minutes at the event, one lucky child walked away with a new bicycle. The bicycles were donated by Walmart through a joint effort by the AV Sheriff’s Booster Club and TIFF.
Laura Johnson attended the Caring for the Community event with her daughter and grand kids.
“I think it’s awesome that they care enough to give back, because a lot of people are less fortunate,” Laura Johnson said. “A lot of people wouldn’t have anything at all if they didn’t have this today.”
View more sights for UAV’s 6th Annual Caring for the Community below.