Orange County District Attorney
Press Release, For Immediate Release: November 9, 2012
Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff, Office: 714-347-8408, Cell: 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486
AT-RISK YOUTH EARN 475 TURKEY DINNERS IN THANKSGIVING GANG PREVENTION INCENTIVE
*Media invited to attend Volunteer Participation on November 13th and Turkey Dinner Giveaway on November 14th
SANTA ANA – Turkey dinners will be awarded to 475 at-risk students who succeeded in an Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP) challenge to improve their attendance, behavior, and grades in time for Thanksgiving. The turkey dinners were donated through Ralphs and Saddleback Church as part of the ongoing OC GRIP gang prevention effort to keep kids in school and out of gangs.
On Nov. 13, 2012, 200 volunteers from Ralphs and Saddleback Church will pack Thanksgiving dinners at 1 Saddleback Parkway, Lake Forest, 92630 on the lower parking lot. These dinners will include a full Thanksgiving meal that will feed a family of 10.
The dinners will be delivered to the participating OC GRIP schools for the successful students and their families to pick up on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, starting at 4:30 p.m.
Media interested in attending either event may contact Orange County District Attorney Spokesperson Farrah Emami at (714) 347-8405 for further information.
“I am truly humbled and grateful to Saddleback Church, Ralphs, and Food 4 Less for bringing Thanksgiving to so many needy and deserving children,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “I am thrilled for the opportunity for these children to do something good for their families and praise them for learning that there are rewards for good behavior.”
“We have many selfless volunteers at Saddleback who will enjoy serving our community alongside the District Attorney and Ralphs to bring hope and encouragement to families in need,” said Rick Warren, Pastor at Saddleback Church.
“Ralphs and Food 4 Less are proud to support a program that benefits families, the community at large and keeps our children safe,” said Kendra Doyel, Senior Community Relations Manager for Ralphs and Food 4 Less. “Our donation to this program is one of the many ways that Ralphs and Food 4 Less contributes to the communities where we work and live. We look forward to seeing the smiling faces of the children who worked so hard to earn this reward for their family when those meals are delivered.”
At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, over 600 students from 23 OC GRIP elementary and middle schools were offered the opportunity to earn a Thanksgiving turkey dinner for their families by succeeding in a gang prevention challenge. The terms of the challenge were determined by each school and included no gang activity or clothing, no disciplinary action, perfect attendance, and improved grades. All of the 600 are in grades four through eight and were individually identified by their respective schools as being the most at-risk of joining a criminal street gang. OC GRIP does not work with documented gang members, who were ineligible to participate.
Approximately 475 students successfully completed the challenge and earned turkey dinners, complete with side dishes, to feed a family of 10 people. All of the dinners, valued at over $10,000, were donated by Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Saddleback Church.
The turkey dinners will be distributed at the OC GRIP schools on Nov. 14, 2012, by police officers, investigators, and staff from all of the OC GRIP agencies, including District Attorney Rackauckas, District Attorney Chief of the Bureau Jeff McLaughlin, Chief of Probation Steven J. Sentman, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez, Garden Grove Police Chief Kevin Raney, Mission Viejo Police Chief Christopher Wilson, Orange Police Chief Robert Gustafson, San Clemente Police Chief John Coppock, San Juan Capistrano Police Chief John Meyer, Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas, Santa Ana Police Commissioner Paul Walters, Santa Ana Unified School District Police Chief David Valentin, Stanton Police Chief Jeff Passalaqua, Lieutenant of the unincorporated areas of north Orange County Robert Gunzel, Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church, volunteers from Saddleback Church, and Ralphs grocery employees.
OC GRIP currently operates in eight cities and is run by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Orange County Probation Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Buena Park Police Department, Garden Grove Police Department, Orange Police Department, Santa Ana Police Department, Santa Ana Unified School District Police and has over 400 community partners.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701