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A group of 12 kindergartners with their siblings and parents came together as a community to collect more than 1,500 canned food items for the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry to help those who may need items for Thanksgiving.  

The parents and children began their canned food drive by placing flyers around their Valencia neighborhood with information on times to pick up food and what items the food pantry needed. 

The children and parents came back to the houses in the neighborhood a week later and collected everything and caravanned to the food pantry to deliver the food. 

One of the parents involved was Carolyn Veis, who said the community response was supportive, with words of encouragement for the children’s contributions and hard work.  

“The neighbors all wrote little notes to the kids on the flyer that had originally been passed out, saying, ‘Thank you so much for doing this and you guys are so sweet, happy Thanksgiving,’” Veis said. 

The parents navigated a tough conversation explaining to the children why they were helping the food pantry, and explaining that not everyone always has food available.  

The parents hoped with every chance they get to pay it forward through community service, the children will grow to learn they are fortunate and are working to help those who aren’t. 

Two of the children involved, Jack and Emma, said they wanted to help others, and it made them feel good for the work they did. 

“It’s hard to explain hunger to 5-year-olds, and Jack and Emma are extremely fortunate that they have food on their table … So it’s a little bit harder to explain it, but we did our best,” Veis said. 

Veis and many of the parents felt camaraderie and connection with the group that participated and have found many things in common, which has brought them all closer.  

“So we all talk in this In this group chat now, and I feel like I know the parents a little bit better, so it makes me really happy because that’s my community, and these are my neighbors,” Veis said. 

The parents informed the food pantry about dropping off the contributions, and they explained how to drop off the canned goods at the food pantry. The caravan of cars dropped off the canned food items, and the food pantry workers were taken aback by all the children and contributions, according to Veis. 

“I think that it just was a very cute thing to see that these kids were delivering all the food,” Veis said. 

Food pantry Executive Director James Espinoza said the caravan of canned food and kids made everyone smile at the pantry.  

“They were amazing and they brought eight carloads of canned food with the trunks brimming full of canned foods,” Espinoza said. “It was nice seeing the kids full of energy to deliver the food.”  

The parents have discussed collecting canned food items annually with ideas about contributing in other ways, such as a potential toy drive.