By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer– Love and joy in serving is the theme Lt. Gina Noble of the Ridgecrest Salvation Army embraces for Thanksgiving with her signature enthusiasm. This Thanksgiving season the Salvation Army will serve 500 meals via food boxes for residents and our troops plus sit-down meals for unhoused locals (she doesn’t use the term homeless) and a special teen party.
Everything the Salvation Army receives stays in our community. With that thought in mind, the community is invited to be a part of this generosity of spirit. “The spirit of Thanksgiving is to be grateful for everything that we are given. We each have something to give and when you personally are prompted to contribute, whether it is of the resource of your time, or a gift or a skill you have or maybe you’re in the season where you can give monetarily to help someone else. We want to inspire you to act upon it.,” says Noble. “We want you to do what you can do to meet needs in the moment as you see them. The holidays are all about being grateful for what we have, giving what we can and simply letting our whole community know that they are loved. We are united and this is a great place to live that we all should be very thankful for.”
Let’s be clear on how we can help. Monetary gifts can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm, 151 North Downs, mailed to PO Box 189, Ridgecrest, 93556, or given electronically online at Ridgecrest.salvationarmy.org.
Volunteers are needed to assist with food preparation on November 22. You can sign up as an individual or as a group at volunteer.USAwest.org.
We can also give to the food drive which is being held tomorrow, Saturday, November 19. The Salvation Army is collaborating with Immanuel Christian School and church. From 8am until 2pm there will be volunteers stationed at Stater Brothers, Walmart, and both Albertsons with lists of what is needed. Just add to your shopping list and give it to them when you exit the store. Keep in mind, this food drive will make the 500 free meals possible.
Two hundred and fifty special holiday food boxes are being distributed. The Salvation Army is collaborating with other faith and service organizations to provide these baskets. Earlier this week the Salvation Army collaborated with Chaplain David Gray at the Base on “Thanksgiving Food Boxes for the Troops” to provide holiday meals for 60 Department of Defense families. The November 22 sit-down meal will be served to local unhoused families, seniors and veterans. Noble tells us, “We are very blessed that the Oasis Garden Club of Indian Wells Valley is doing all of our centerpieces for the tables and the community has been coming together to donate a ton of turkey.”
Noble knows how to interject fun while giving. “Our Kind of Thanksgiving” on November 19 from 6 to 8 pm is a special free party for kids 11 to 17 years old. “Dinner is pizza, nachos, hot dogs and ice cream. And we are having frozen turkey bowling, a food box race and edible art gifts for the kids to take home.”
In the year and a half that Noble and her husband, Chris, have been in Ridgecrest they have created partnerships and marshaled volunteers to join in serving the community. Gina’s bright smile and welcoming heart is well-known and appreciated. And the feeling is mutual, “This place is amazing,” she says. “It really is. Other communities aren’t like this. It’s true. I mean Ridgecrest is a very special place on the planet.” She says emphatically, “It is. I’ve never been in a community with this type of just everybody takes care of everybody.”
And in this season of thankfulness, she says, “We really just want people well served and know they are loved, especially the people that are alone for the holidays.”