AT-RISK YOUTH EARN 850 TURKEY DINNERS IN OCDA’S 6TH ANNUAL THANKSGIVING GANG PREVENTION INCENTIVE

Date: November 18, 2015

AT-RISK YOUTH EARN 850 TURKEY DINNERS IN OCDA’S 6TH ANNUAL THANKSGIVING GANG PREVENTION INCENTIVE

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Turkey dinners will be awarded today to 850 at-risk students who succeeded in Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership’s (OC GRIP) 6th annual Thanksgiving challenge to improve their attendance, behavior, and grades in time for Thanksgiving.

Ralphs/Food 4 Less and Saddleback Church donated over 850 turkey dinners 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 students at 51 schools this year.

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 today, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, starting at 4:00 p.m.

Media interested in attending may contact Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Spokesperson Roxi Fyad 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.”

“Saddleback Church is honored to participate with the Orange County District Attorney and Ralphs/Food 4 Less with GRIP in such an effective and transformative event.  We appreciate and are grateful to be able to support and provide hope to at risk children and their families across Orange County,” said Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren.

“We are proud to once again partner with the OCDA and the GRIP Program to make the holidays a little brighter for some very deserving students,” said Kendra Doyel, Vice President of Public Affairs for Ralphs & Food 4 Less. “Partnering with local law enforcement to help reinforce community programs in the areas where we work and live is a win for all parties involved.”

Thanksgiving Incentive Details

At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, over 900 students from 51 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 900students 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 850students 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 today, Nov. 18, 2015, 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 Craig Hunter, Chief of Probation Steven J. Sentman,Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez,Dana Point Police Chief Russ Chilton,Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes,Garden Grove Police Chief Kevin Raney,Laguna Hills Police Chief Ronald Chacon,Mission Viejo Police Chief Bradley Newmeyer, Orange Police Chief Robert Gustafson,San Clemente Police Chief Dave Moody,San Juan Capistrano Police Chief Scott Spalding,Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas, Santa Ana School District Police Chief Hector Rodriguez, Tustin Police Chief Charles Celam, Unincorporated cities Police Chief Robert Gunzel, 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, Fullerton 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.