Giving back this Thanksgiving

Volunteers packaging meal boxes for HomeAid Thanksgiving food drive by Kristina Nagel

This season Kristina Nagel, realtor at Berkshire Hathaway, hosted a Thanksgiving food drive to provide meals for families who are struggling. The drive occurred on Oct. 30 and donations were brought to OC Food Bank to be packed on Nov. 5.

“We will be giving our donations to an organization called HomeAid, from 10-2 p.m. and there are specific items that they are requesting,” Nagel said.

Requested food items include boxed stuffing, cranberry sauce, pasta, mashed potatoes, gravy, non-perishable desserts and other boxed thanksgiving goods.

“Giving back is so rewarding,” said Emma Pilinsky, after donating to the drive. “It makes you feel like you’re making a difference and helping someone else”.

Nagel has lived in the Las Flores community for five years and hosted this drive last year on her own. She is hoping to get more donations since she was able to get approval from the Homeowners Association. She was able to put up more signs around the community and had a bit more help transporting meals.

“After the drive, I will bring the food myself over to HomeAid where they will package it up and send it to families who are in need,” Nagel said.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “3.5 million households are not at all confident,” said Llobera, director of research, when it comes to being able to afford a Thanksgiving meal. With the help of the drive, hundreds of families will receive meals this holiday season.

“I always make sure to donate and gather what I can,” said Marcus Petes, frequenter of Thanksgiving drives in Orange County. “I remember how lucky I am and how some families don’t even eat on Thanksgiving”.

The donation was held at Starlight Ridge park in Las Flores and was sponsored by Nagel. Meals will be given to families and individuals living in housing developed by HomeAid OC and operated by non-profit partner OC Food Bank.

“I’m doing this specifically for our neighborhood where they can donate easily and be a part of giving in an easy matter,” Nagel said.

Each meal box contains enough food to feed up to 4 people and the goal this year was to assemble 500 or more in Las Flores. No opened food or drinks are allowed, however non-perishable food items are accepted.

“I’m a mom and I want to give back to our community and support our community and I also did an e-waste event,” Nagel said. “And all the proceeds from that went to the Las Flores elementary PTA.” E-waste refers to toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment including lead, mercury and cadmium.

Save the Children says that, “being able to give back to those in need helps you achieve a greater sense of personal satisfaction and growth.”

“I plan on doing it annually as long as the HOA lets me,” Nagel said.

She’s already done it once and hopes to continue the Thanksgiving food drive for at least the next few years.

Thanksgiving food drives exist in numerous places throughout OC, however this local Las Flores drive is accessible to most and is at Starlight Ridge park. Donations of non-perishable foods are accepted and will be given to families in need.

To continue donating this November, visit  to help out in the West Los Angeles College annual Thanksgiving food drive. Collections will begin on November 11 and will continue through November 17. Nonperishable food items will be collected at 10401 Tabor St, Los Angeles.