Valley volunteers did more than count their blessings Thursday -- they turned out in force to cook and serve meals to seniors, families in need and the down-and-out.
They dished out hundreds of turkeys and hundreds of pounds of potatoes at serving centers in Fresno, Clovis, Lemoore, Reedley and other cities.
Helping out was a family tradition for some, like the Jorgensen family of Clovis, who took part in serving at the Clovis Senior Center.
"It's good to be humble," said Justin Jorgensen, 19, who was serving along with his mother, Therece, brother Connor, 14, and sister Clarissa, 12. Justin said the family has made volunteering at the center a part of their Thanksgiving for years.
Jose Munoz said serving at the center is becoming a family affair for himself, his wife Corina, son Jose Jr., 29, and daughters Moniqua, 31, and Erika, 28.
He said they were there "just to help out the community."
James Edwards, a spokesman for the Clovis center, said at least 80 volunteers served about 300 meals, including about 25 taken to those unable to come to the center. It took 41 turkeys and 50 pounds of yams to make the meals. The center also received help from Pappy's Fine Foods and the Salvation Army.
At Fresno's Poverello House, earlier this week more than 100 volunteers began preparing about 120 turkeys and 120 pounds of potatoes to serve to 1,000 people. Tito Olazabal, director of food services, said there were also 60 pumpkin pies for dessert.
Volunteers arrived at the center near Ventura Avenue and Highway 99 about 4:31 a.m. Thursday to begin serving breakfast and then prepare for the big Thanksgiving dinner later in the day, said Gabriela McNiel, director of volunteer services. Many of the volunteers work more than just Thanksgiving, since the Poverello House serves meals all year long.
Cruz Avila, executive director at Poverello, said meals also were prepared for the Marjaree Mason Center and Transitional Living Services.
The reporter may be reached at (559) 441-6339, jguy@fresnobee or @jimguy27 on Twitter.