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A.V. CENTER DISHES UP CHRISTMAS; HUNDREDS OF FAMILIES GET TOYS AND FEASTS.

Byline: John Sanders Staff Writer

Christmas is a time of giving. Just ask Steve Baker, executive director of the Grace Resource Center.

Hundreds of needy families in the Antelope Valley received Christmas baskets and toys this week at the center, thanks to donations from dozens of local organizations, including Scout units, churches, schools and sheriff's deputies.

``We want to make sure that nobody falls through the cracks in the community,'' Baker said. ``Although Thanksgiving was our big project, we realize that there were some folks who didn't get help for Christmastime.''

The center fed hundreds of families at a Christmas Eve meal, a ham dinner with all the trimmings.

The Christmas basket and toy giveaway began Monday and concluded Thursday. Families could either call to sign up or just show up and say that they needed help.

They were given a Christmas basket with cans of fruit and vegetables, rice, stuffing, noodles, jellies, juices, and cranberry and spaghetti sauce. Some families were given turkeys or coupons to purchase turkeys, Baker said.

Toys were separated into categories based on age range and gender. Parents could pick the toys of their choice, from Barbie dolls to soccer balls to remote control cars to trains.

``It's been a wonderful thing to watch all of this grow and see the support of the community grow,'' Baker said. ``It's important that we have these organizations, and it's equally important that we all work together, and we've been really blessed here.''

The Grace Resource Center has been in existence for nearly nine years. It feeds approximately 6,000 needy people per month. Baker expects that nearly 1,000 people will be served during the Christmas holiday.

``It's great,'' he said. ``Just wherever I go, (I) run into people and they're just so thankful that Grace is doing what it's doing. For some folks, they can't imagine how we can do all this, but we all just have our special thing that we're gifted for.''

For more information on the Grace Resource Center, contact (661) 940- 5272.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 25, 1999
Words:340
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