A Meal Like No other: Providing Hope for a Yuma Family

It was close to thanksgiving and a single mom (whose name is not mentioned for privacy reasons) with two kids in Yuma just lost her job. She didn’t have a place to live and the last thing she wanted to do was think about having a Thanksgiving Dinner. It was not a holiday season they were looking forward to.

Around that same time, students were sitting in their philosophy class at SAAVI Services for the Blind’s Yuma center, answering the question “So, how can we give back this holiday season?”


 That’s when these two stories meet.


Scott, who teaches cane travel in Yuma, was leading a topic one day about why it’s important for blind people to give back. He was challenging students to find something that the center can contribute to this holiday season. Can food drive, feeding the homeless, volunteering, making a lunch for the community, were all the thoughts that popped into students’ heads. After a while, a student suggested that they provide a meal for a family. Everyone agreed.

  “I wanted the students to feel like they owned this idea,” Scott said. “It’s important that we know as blind people that we have a role to play in giving back to the community.”

 The first thing they needed to do was spread the word. The Yuma site manager, Julio, had a connection with a local radio station. He was able to get air time promoting the cause, asking listeners to nominate deserving families. You can watch the video below or check out our Facebook post.

It's TODAY IN YUMA, with Jennifer and Theresa Straub:It's Museum Monday with Melissa Rushin Irr and she will share more exciting details about the new home of the Children's Museum of Yuma County!Kari Tatar will be talking about the United Way of Yuma County Tree Lighting at Yuma Palms!Julio Saavedra will stop by to share information about SAAVI Services for the Blind in Yuma, and an exciting chance to win a Thanksgiving dinner!Thanks to our sponsors: @Classic Accounting, @SPRAGUE'S SPORTS, @Quick Refrigeration Company, Inc., @Advocate Pest and Wildlife, @Lotus Day Spa & Salon, @Fisher Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM Fiat, @Firehouse Subs Big Curve (2886 S 4th Ave, Ste. 300, Yuma, AZ), and our Facebook Live sponsor @Sunset Community Health Center.

Posted by Jennifer Blackwell on Monday, November 4, 2019

  After this, word started to spread about this cause and SAAVI soon had about 10 families nominated. They worked with Albertsons to get a big Turkey donated and students helped gather and prepare the meal that would be delivered.

 A week or so later, after families were nominated, students had a drawing and pick the mom’s name out. Then it was time to make the call to let her know.

 “She thought we were pranking her,” Jimmy, a Yuma student said. “She didn’t believe us because it felt like it came from nowhere.”

 So, in order to convince her, they sent her the video of them drawing her name. You can watch the Facebook live video below:

Saavi Yuma Announcing the deserving family for Thanksgiving Turkey Giveway. Winner of Thanksgiving Turkey Meal is……Congrats to Castañeda Family!!!

Posted by SAAVI Services for the Blind on Monday, November 25, 2019

  “She was so honored,” Jimmy said.

  Just before thanks giving, it was time to deliver the meal. A group of students gather the meal, navigated to the house and knocked on the door.

 When students showed up to the house, they were met with tears of joy and hugs. The family was overjoyed, because they now knew they had a meal for the holidays.

 “It brought us great joy to be able to provide the family with a delicious meal for Thanksgiving, Jimmy Said. “It’s nice to know that being blind doesn’t mean that we can’t donate our time and energy during the holidays like everyone else.”