The Chest of Hope partnered with the Intel Corporation to hand out free lunches to community members in need Friday afternoon as part of their giving back program.

Ayesha Abdul-Rehman, a spokesperson for the Chest of Hope, said the organization wanted to show the community their appreciation and gave away free lunches, winter clothing and bags of personal hygiene items for people in need.

“We have this amazing opportunity to give back to the community. We are a community based nonprofit so we depend on the community to help out the community,” Abdul-Rehman said. “And they have come forward even in this difficult time — they’ve helped us help them to give back during the season holidays.”

Chest of Hope opened in Tracy in 2011 to provide resources and help to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. The organization established a safe house in 2012 and now offers transitional housing, individual and group counseling, life coaching, and help getting legal intervention services.

Intel donated 150 box lunches to the Chest of Hope after plans for the corporation’s annual administration appreciation lunch were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Intel donated the 500 lunches to five different community organizations, sending 150 to Chest of Hope and another set to Brighter Christmas.

Merlyn Pittman, founder and director of Chest of Hope, said the nonprofit had been collecting items continuously throughout the year and decided to give the lunches along with  bags of personal hygiene items that included masks, toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer.

A donation from the Sikh community of new socks were also included in the bags.

New blankets and limited number of men’s and women’s jackets were also available.

Pittman said this wasn’t the first donation they had held. The nonprofit handed out Thanksgiving dinner boxes previously, but this was the first time one of their donations was being made public.

“We want the community to know that we are there for them as well as much as they have been for us,” Pittman said.

She expects they will continue more outreach into the new year as the pandemic continues.

“We are here, we are community orientated nonprofit and in anyway shape or form that we can help the community we like to give back,” Pittman said. “With whatever resources, whether based on what our mission is about or otherwise.

Pittman said the organizations helps those who are short on food with bags of food they keep at their office.

“If anyone comes through and they are in need we do help them with that,” Pittman said.

Abdul-Rehman said the Chest of Hope does the donation drives throughout the year but not at the scale of Friday's distribution

“There are things happening with the Chest of Hope involving the community all year long — small ways, we’re a small organization, so small ways — but this is huge for us and the community we serve,” she said.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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