Traffic jams caused by Thanksgiving food giveaway

A+line+of+cars+drive+through+Lot+B+of+the+El+Camino+College+campus+waiting+to+receive+meals+from+volunteers+at+the+annual+Drive-Through+Food+%26+Turkey+Giveaway+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+22.+%28Ricardo+Arellanes+%7C+The+Union%29

A line of cars drive through Lot B of the El Camino College campus waiting to receive meals from volunteers at the annual Drive-Through Food & Turkey Giveaway on Tuesday, Nov. 22. (Ricardo Arellanes | The Union)

A large gathering of vehicles prevented students and employees from reaching classes at El Camino College on Tuesday, Nov. 22, due to a Thanksgiving food giveaway.

More than 800 cars were lined up around campus creating traffic on Crenshaw, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach Boulevards because of the annual Drive-Through Food & Turkey Giveaway hosted in partnership with Senator Steven Bradford, who represents the 35th senate district.

El Camino police officers, including Sgt. Ruben Lopez, quickly recognized the issue and created controlled intersections as well as set up cones to smooth out traffic.

Lopez said that officers were able to accommodate those students and employees to parking areas in Lots L, H, F, and C.

“There was a little bit of a traffic jam within [those areas],” Lopez said. “There were a lot of people here for this turkey giveaway so it was a little bit challenging.”

Multiple volunteers had prepared approximately 1,000 meals ready to give out to those waiting in the car lines. The giveaway also had a walk-up option which contributed to around 150 of the estimated number of meals that were distributed.

Senator Steven Bradford and his volunteers pose for a group photo after their hard work of giving food to families in need was complete
Senator Steven Bradford and his volunteers pose for a group photo after giving food to families in need at the annual Drive-Through Food & Turkey Giveaway event. (Ricardo Arellanes | The Union)

Food items were provided by sponsors and partners including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who provided both the turkeys and the pork roasts along with the American Automobile Association who provided money and volunteers.

The Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams and Phillips 66 also participated in the food drive.

“We’ve been doing this now for 12 years,” Bradford said. “Every year it grows and grows because the need is [increasing] not just from inflation but from the pandemic as well.”

The event’s main goal was to assist those in the community who are struggling to afford a Thanksgiving meal to celebrate the upcoming holiday.

Nilo Michelin, President of the El Camino College Board of Trustees, who was present during the giveaway, was impressed by the hard work of the volunteers and delighted by the satisfied reactions of the people who were receiving their meals.

“[We] had a lot of cars and extreme interest but we have a great crew and they kept it going.”