Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release: November 19, 2013
SANTA ANA – Turkey dinners will be awarded tomorrow to 851 at-risk students who succeeded in Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership’s (OC GRIP) 4th annual Thanksgiving challenge to improve their attendance, behavior, and grades in time for Thanksgiving.
Ralphs/Food 4 Less and Saddleback Church donated double the number of turkey dinners, over 850 this year compared to 400 in years past, as part of the ongoing OC GRIP gang prevention effort to keep kids in school and out of gangs. The total donation is valued at over $25,000. OC GRIP extended the incentive to twice as many students at 43 schools this year compared to the previously-participating 23 schools.
The dinners will include a full Thanksgiving meal to feed a family of 10 and will be delivered to the participating OC GRIP schools for the successful students and their families to pick up tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, starting at 4:30 p.m.
Media interested in attending may contact Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Spokesperson Farrah Emami at (714) 347-8405.
“I am truly humbled and grateful to Ralphs/Food 4 Less and Saddleback Church for bringing Thanksgiving to so many needy and deserving children and doubling the number of their generous donation,” said Orange District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “I am thrilled for the opportunity these children have 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 Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren.
“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, Community Affairs Senior 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.”
Thanksgiving Incentive Details
At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, over 1,000 students from 43 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 1,000 students 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 851 students successfully completed the challenge and earned turkey dinners, complete with side dishes, to feed a family of 10 people. All of the dinners were donated by Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Saddleback Church.
The turkey dinners will be distributed at the OC GRIP schools tomorrow, Nov. 20, 2013, by police officers, deputies, investigators, probation officers, and staff from all of the OC GRIP agencies, including District Attorney Rackauckas, District Attorney Bureau of Investigation Chief 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, Laguna Hills Police Chief Tom Behrens, Mission Viejo Police Chief Bradley Newmeyer, Orange Police Chief Robert Gustafson, San Clemente Police Chief John Coppock, San Juan Capistrano Police Chief John Meyer, Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas, Saddleback Church Pastor Warren, volunteers from Saddleback Church, and Ralphs grocery employees.
The OC GRIP Thanksgiving incentive will be run by Orange County law enforcement agencies including the OCDA, Orange County Probation Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Department in the Cities of Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Stanton, and unincorporated areas of North Orange County, Buena Park Police Department, Costa Mesa Police Department, Garden Grove Police Department, Orange Police Department, Santa Ana Police Department, Tustin Police Department, and has over 500 community partners.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney 401 Civic Center Drive West Santa Ana, CA 92701