Friday, November 26, 2010

Fresno Area Firms Team-Up to Provide Thanksgiving Banana Cakes to Poverello House

What's a good way to give thanks on Thanksgiving? Let them eat cake!

Take flour, sugar, bananas, eggs and traditional spices provided by Baker Dillon Group, Starbucks and Rodeo Coffee Shop of Clovis and AlphaGraphics of Fresno, and in the better part of a day you've got about three dozen banana cakes for the Fresno-based Poverello House, a private, non-profit, nondenominational organization that has been serving the hungry, homeless and destitute for 37 years. With the continuing support of the community, through volunteers and donations, Poverello House now serves approximately 1,250-1,400 meals a day, 365 days a year.

Levi of Poverello House helps unload the banana cakes early Thanksgiving morning.

The cake making idea was the brainchild of Sheldon Baker ( publisher and editor) and Karena Dillon, principals of Baker Dillon Group, the Clovis, CA-based brand marketing, advertising and public relations firm.

"We didn't have plans for Thanksgiving and we thought about how we could provide a service to the community," Baker said. "This seemed like the perfect way."

Baker first approached John Sanders, California Central Valley district manager for Starbucks about contributing bananas. Sanders requested one of the Clovis stores order extra bananas that could be used for the project.

Eggs were donated by Rodeo Coffee Shop in Old Town Clovis, cake mixes from AlphaGraphics in Fresno and the other condiments and making coordination by Baker Dillon Group.

Dillon, who often makes cakes for her firm's vendors, is rolling up her sleeves and preparing all the cakes over a 24-hour period and will deliver them Thanksgiving morning.

"Poverello House was delighted to receive this dessert donation which they said would be used throughout the Thanksgiving weekend," said Dillon.

"We just decided to do this a few days ago and we didn't have a lot of time to gather the ingredients," Baker said. "but all the organizations we contacted were more than willing to ante up the baking supplies."

In 1973, Poverello House founder Mike McGarvin began offering peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless and hungry community. Through the years, inspired by his example, others began to lend a hand.

"We're already thinking about next year and with an earlier start and more preparation we might make peanut butter and jelly cupcakes and cookies," said Dillon.

Other Poverello House services include free medical and dental care through the Holy Cross Clinic; showers and laundry services to the homeless; a day shelter for people on the streets; a safe, overnight shelter for women at Naomi's House; temporary shelter for 44 individuals at the Village of Hope; a 28-bed residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation program; a five-bed transitional home; free clothing, mail service, transportation, referral services and other various social services, as well as a homeless dog kennel for abandoned pets. Poverello House is located at 412 F Street in Fresno.

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