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Westside Ministries honors MLK with service
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Lala Vasquez, Araceli Hinojosa and Candy Silveria spent their Monday loading, organizing and stacking emergency food boxes at Westside Ministries.

Westside Ministries of Turlock staff and volunteers spent the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday commemorating the leader’s spirit of giving and selflessness by packing over 1,000 emergency food boxes for families in need.

“Giving is a big part of who we are. We give but we expect the kids to help others as well. We do this event specifically today in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s memory,” said JoLynn DiGrazia, director of Westside Ministries.

Westside Ministries is a ministry dedicated to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the families of the Westside while providing educational services. Westside Ministries expects families to lead by example by giving back to the community and the ministry’s mission was fulfilled as more than 50 volunteers spent their Monday packing, organizing and loading boxes to be given away on Sunday to families in need.

“We never wanted to get into the food business. We do provide 200 people a hot meal four times a week. We do this as more of a shot in the arm for working class poor families that need the help in the winter time after Christmas.”

Westside Ministries acquired food from organizations such as Feed the Children and Lifeline Outreach, as well as donations from Safeway, the Turlock High School Future Farmers of America and Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. With the help of volunteers from All Saints Catholic Church and Monte Vista Chapel, as well as a reliable crowd of families from Westside Ministries, the boxes were packed starting at 8 a.m. Monday and finished late in the afternoon.

Families signed up in advance for emergency food boxes and will be able to claim them on Sunday after attending a meeting at Westside Ministries. Each family will receive two cases of food, one case of drinks and possibly a case of meat and vegetables amounting to 60 pounds of food. Excess food will be donated and distributed among local food organizations.