Melanie Griffith/Army Help Feed Kids

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HELPING HANDS–Melanie Griffith helps Major Don Bell off-load food
donations for the needy.

by Victor Pinzon – 

Thousands of San Diego County’s neediest families are being helped through a giant donation of food that is being distributed through 19 local charities. More than 60,000 pounds of food arrived in the city recently as part of a national hunger relief program sponsored by Feed the Children, Planet Hollywood, and actress Melanie Griffith.

The Salvation Army coordinated the local effort by off-loading two 70-foot trucks packed with donations. The food was then sorted by volunteers and prepared for distribution to the various participating charities. Then, the food was loaded into a procession of trucks and vans, providing an average of 137 cases of food to each participating charity.

“It was a very demanding challenge for the volunteers, who worked through the morning hours right until sunset to get the job done,” said Christopher Hogan, who served as the Army’s on-site coordinator, directing the efforts of more than 100 volunteers.

At a press conference held at Planet Hollywood, Major Donald C. Bell, Sierra Del Mar divisional commander, addressed the issue of hunger. “Don’t let California’s current economic boom mislead you. One quarter of California children live in poverty and nearly one-half live in low-income households.”

Actress Melanie Griffith, who appeared with Feed the Children President Larry Jones and Bell, spoke of her concern for children. Her involvement with Feed the Children, an international hunger relief agency, was inspired by a television infomercial addressing hunger in the streets of American cities. “I was deeply moved by the program that I watched at home while I was feeding my baby,” said Griffith. “I knew I had to get involved.”

She made arrangements with Planet Hollywood for additional support and participated in a nationwide tour. Recognizing Griffith for her spirit of giving, Bell presented her with a decorated Army kettle adorned with a beautiful arrangement of flowers. “I appreciate the work The Salvation Army is doing,” she said.

Throughout the year, The Salvation Army helps more than 175,000 needy individuals in San Diego County through 27 programs.

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