Solana Beach schools bring Thanksgiving dinners to Harmonium families


Thanksgiving Day this year was an extra special day of gratitude for 40 families enrolled in some of Harmonium’s Prime Time Programs. Every year since 2000, the Solana Beach Child Development Center (CDC) has organized a food drive to provide turkey dinners to 40 or more families that have children in Harmonium’s Prime Time programs at Chavez, Baker, Marshall and Perkins Elementary Schools in South San Diego. The program was started up by Kelly Johnston of the Solana Beach CDC who in the mid 1990s managed one of Harmonium’s Child Care Centers.

Johnston created a “Day Care to Day Care” relationship where a Solana Beach School would be matched with a Harmonium Prime Time site and collect food items for 10 families or more at that school. For 11 years, starting on Nov. 1, collection boxes have been set out at Solana Beach school sites and then the week before Thanksgiving Johnston’s team, along with Harmonium staff headed by Miguel Ortega, would consolidate all the donations and sort them for even distribution to as many families as possible. This year Harmonium reached out to their Klassic Kids Child Care parents and agency staff to add to the bounty. The families are selected at each school in consultation with the principals of the schools to determine families that have the greatest need. Special arrangements are then made to personally present the food boxes to the selected families.

In addition to this annual Turkey Drive, Solana Beach CDC also conducts a toy drive to the same schools and every child in all four schools receives a gift from Santa in person just before the children take their holiday vacations.

Harmonium, a nonprofit agency that has been serving children and families in San Diego County since 1975, is very grateful to Kelly Johnston and her helpers Angelo Dentoni, Beth Hendershot, and Diana Escalera and all the Solana Beach contributors for helping to bring a very special dinner for Thanksgiving Day to over 40 families. This program is a genuine expression of the true spirit of Thanksgiving.