The Laker Girls and the Tournament of Roses Rose Queen and Rose Court joined volunteers Tuesday at Foothill Unity Center's annual holiday food distribution event to pass out the makings of a Thanksgiving feast to needly local families.
Held at the Arboretum in Arcadia, the center expected to give away boxes that included meat and all the trimmings to more than 1,500 families who registered for the drive.
Joan Whitenack, Foothill Unity's executive director, said the number of families fed by the center has doubled since 2007 as the continued slumping of the economy has forced more people to turn to charity to get through the holidays.
"A lot of people who never needed help before are here," she said.
Police Chief Jim Hunt and several other members of the Monrovia Police Department were also on hand to help Tuesday. He said his job was easier this year because school was out and more students were volunteering their time.
"We got all these students out helping us. Usually it's just us old guys," Hunt said.
Four Laker Girls joined the effort as part of the annual "Season of Giving" program sponsored by East West Bank. The girls helped hand out turkeys and gave away autographed calendars.
Emily Wang, the bank's director of marketing, said she was impressed with how the distribution drive was organized. She said she plans on bringing the Laker Girls back next year and possibly some members of the team.
"Next year, if there's no lockout, we may have some players!," she said, laughing.