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Families learn true meaning of Thanksgiving (Video)

By chirst
Nov. 22, 2012 at 5:22 a.m.
Updated Nov. 23, 2012 at 5:23 a.m.

An excited 6-year-old Arthur Avila Jr. shows off his new blanket with his mother, Mary Lightfoot, at right. The blankets were collected by Jean Hinojosa, who gave a blanket to each child who attended the Salvation Army Thanksgiving dinner Thursday. Having grown up in poverty and experiencing homelessness in her youth, Hinojosa was inspired to collect the blankets to teach her children the true meaning of Thanksgiving and helping those in need.

Thanksgiving is about turkeys.

At least, that is what Kade Hinojosa, 11, told his mom.

"That is when I knew they didn't know the true meaning of Thanksgiving, and I wanted to show them ... what it is to be thankful," said Jean Hinojosa. "As a young child myself, I grew up in poverty with a single mom. We, at one point, were homeless, and we had to go to food banks and stuff like that. Now that I'm an adult, I want to be able to give back and teach my children."

So Hinojosa signed her family up to volunteer at the Salvation Army Thanksgiving Lunch on Thursday. But Hinojosa and her two sons didn't stop there. Tyler, 9, came up with another idea.

"In conversation, (Tyler) mentioned that he can't wait to go home and eat and then snuggle up in a blanket, and when he said that, I realized that not everyone gets a blanket," Hinojosa said.

With five days until Thanksgiving, Hinojosa and her sons went on a crusade to raise blankets to give out to the children at the lunch - calling it Warm Tummy, Warm Blanket.

"Salvation Army is providing the warm tummy, and we are providing the warm blanket," Hinojosa said.

With a goal to raise 50 blankets, she and the kids came to the lunch with 150 blankets to give away. The extras were donated to the Salvation Army.

Arthur Avila, 6, got a red Mario blanket as he walked through the line and his sister, Shade, 2, got a pink one.

"She loves her pink. I love my color red because it's Mario," Arthur said, carefully showing everyone at the table the Marios, Luigis, and evil mushrooms outlined on the blanket.

"I have a ripped blanket. It's red, and it's ripped," Arthur said about his old blanket. "I'm gonna cuddle up with this one. I will sleep with it."

His mom, Mary Lightfoot, said the blankets and the free meal came at the perfect time because they are new to Victoria and just starting in a new apartment.

"It is awesome because we need the help," she said.

Arthur said he is thankful for his new, red Mario blanket and also for his little sister this Thanksgiving.

Kade, who passed out blankets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., said he learned what Thanksgiving really is.

"Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what you have and the life you have been given," Kade said. "Some people, actually all of us, we take life for granted."

Mark Martin, Corps Officer at the Salvation Army, said the organization had more than 60 volunteers Thursday who served about 200 people.

Martin said giving away the blankets fit in with the mission of the Salvation Army.

"It is benefiting both the need of the people and also the heart of the ones giving and the ones receiving," Martin said. "It is something that we are supposed to do. It is as simple as that."



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