Sacred Heart's annual food giveaway in San Jose

Sacred Heart Community Service is holding its annual food and clothing giveaway in San Jose this week, giving thousands of South Bay families in need a helping hand this holiday season.

Despite the darkness, dampness, and constant rain, families that signed up for the giveaway stood in the elements early Wednesday morning to pickup boxes filled with turkey, fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta, and bread.

“You got a lot of people out here that can’t afford to do things for the holidays or feed their families," said Douglas Burse, who stood in line with two family members. "So, this helps them out quite a bit."

Inside the non-profit's San Jose headquarters, scores of volunteers worked with assembly-line precision, passing out 3,500 pre-boxed bundles of food.

“(We are) making sure that people have groceries and other things (so) they have a holiday meal or just to get through the month is really, really, critical," said Sacred Heart Community Service Executive Director Poncho Guevara. "But another element that’s really fantastic for families is that they don’t feel alone. There are other people standing up for them, trying to make sure they have a decent holiday."

Food recipients and volunteers both get something out of the giveaway. 

“It humbles me. I have a lot of gratitude for the gifts I’ve been given in my life," said volunteer Dena Hase. "I think it just makes me a better person."

Officials said the giveaway is only open to Sacred Heart members, but anyone can join with two forms of identification and receive help. 

Next week, Sacred Heart will shift gear with its annual toy drive and giveaway. Officials said they’re taking donations of both toys and money. Donations can be made in person or online.