Elida Covarubias of Chino Hills hugged Ned Rogers and walked to her vehicle carrying a Thanksgiving turkey and bag of food. “I work, but when I need help during the holidays, Caring for the Hills is here,” she said.
Mr. Rogers has been leading Caring for the Hills with the help of faithful volunteers since 2017 when his wife of 51 years Judy Rogers died after spearheading the organization for more than two decades.
“Helping the people is what keeps me going,” Mr. Rogers said, overseeing the distribution of 70 turkeys and bags of groceries Sunday afternoon at his Cecelia Drive home in Los Serranos.
A caring group of volunteers bustled around, signing people in, handing out turkeys from a pickup truck and helping people load their vehicles.
Mr. Rogers said Caring for the Hills doesn’t criticize or judge anyone.
He remembered when a woman drove up in a Mercedes to receive food. She said, “I’m driving a Mercedes and I’m living in a Mercedes.”
Mr. Rogers said he doesn’t care what kind of vehicle people drive or what their status is because anyone can fall on hard times.
He said he has noticed a slight decrease in the amount of people coming out for food this year. “I think a lot people have found jobs,” he said.
“We’ll keep going as long as Ned lets us,” said longtime volunteer Eddie Garcia of Chino Hills.
Mrs. Rogers’ wheelchair sits empty in the same spot in front of her door as it has since 2017. Mr. Rogers sits in it as he makes sure the daily food distribution is on task, which still takes place each morning.
“The volunteers keep me in line,” he said. “I get chewed out a lot.”
Mr. Garcia said it takes five volunteers to do what Judy did, and to keep Ned in line.
This year, local businesses, funds from the Rancho Del Chino Rotary Club’s Bingo proceeds, Scout troops, and food donations from the L.A. County Fair supported the Thanksgiving distribution.
The Kramer Foundation has helped in the past, Mr. Rogers said.
Volunteers are needed the afternoons of Tuesday, Dec. 17, Wednesday, Dec. 18, and at noon Saturday, Dec. 21 for the Christmas food and toy distribution.
Toys and gift cards for teens are welcomed in advance, Mr. Rogers said.
To donate, call Eddie Garcia, (562) 274-2522.
Caring for the Hills has established a GoFundMe site to help raise funds to purchase gift cards for teenagers and to help homeless clients who don’t have a place to prepare meals.
The website is gofund me.com/f/caring-for-the-hills-christmas-2019.