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Alejandro takes the Good Truck up the coast to Ventura, CA to meet with Caregivers, a non-profit organization that assists the elderly. To show his appreciation for the dedicated volunteers, he teams up with local family-run restaurant, La Dolce Vita, where chef Michelle Kinney surprises them with a delicious Italian dinner party. Presented by Land O'Lakes.
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- My name is Alejandro and traveling is what I do. I'm taking The Good Truck across California to discover some extraordinary organizations, and the people behind them. It's time we recognize the individuals that make it all happen. With the help of local chefs and our mobile kitchen we're giving thanks one meal at a time to the good people who made their communities a great place. This is The Good Truck. Just north of Los Angeles is the city of San Buenaventura, or as it's more commonly known Ventura. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and a beautiful rolling mountainside this town is home to many farming communities, that have thrived off the rich agricultural land here for quite some time. I'm on my way to volunteer with Care Givers a non profit organization that assists the elderly, which is something dear to me, having been a caregiver to my grandfather for some time. After that, I'm going to meet up with a local chef, and together with The Good Truck we're going to surprise the staff of Care Givers, with an unforgettable meal. Before I begin my volunteer work, The Good Truck is stopping by the Care Givers office, so I can meet up with Tammy Glynn, the executive director of the organization to learn a bit more about what they do. - Hey Alejandro, Tammy Glynn. - Hi, hi, how are you? - Nice to meet you! - Very nice to finally meet you. - Welcome! Welcome. - Thank you, thank you. - [Tammy] Come on in. I'm so glad to have you here. Care Givers is one of the original pilot programs for volunteer caregiving in the nation. So the common core is a one-on-one match between a volunteer and the community and a person in need. And the volunteer gives about two to four hours a week in neighborly deeds. There are all kind of volunteers. We have an after school student program. They do all kinds of household chores from laundry, they change the bedding, they'll sweep the floor, vacuum, dust. The seniors love it when the students arrive. - It's as important for the seniors as for the kids. Besides what you're doing for the elderly, you're doing something for the community as a whole. - We have volunteers that have been with us since 1984 and are still volunteering to this day. It's that rewarding. - So how can I be a volunteer? - Oh, have we got a job for you. - Okay. - We're gonna introduce you to a senior in our community. - Yes! Off to The Good Truck! I'm so excited. Care Givers matched me with a woman named Alice who they think I'll have a strong connection with. - Hi Alejandro. - Nice to meet you. - Same here. - [Alejandro] Okay. - This is Rita, my youngest daughter. And these two kids belong to her. And this is my art, can I brag about my art? - Please do! Wow, you painted these? - [Alice] I paint. - [Alejandro] Wow, that one's beautiful. Rita is the one who usually helps you. - She gives my appointments, and makes my appointments, and takes me to the appointments. And she takes me for groceries. And she helps clean a little bit. - [Alejandro] And have you heard about arepas? Venezuelan arepas? - [Alice] No I've never heard of that. - No? It's like these little cornmeal cakes that we make and then we fill them up with whatever for you. - Oh wonderful. - It takes a little while for them to be perfectly round. - Oh I'm sure, a little spanking here and there. - A little spanking. A touch of butter. - Sounds delicious already. - [Alejandro] Ah yes. Just mixing it all together. - Smells good. - [Alejandro] Aw, thank you. So are you hungry? - Yeah I'm always hungry. - Okay, okay, 'cause we got food. So, this is so typical in Venezuela. We always eat arepas. - Yummy. - That's the happy food dance? At 90 years of age, you're trying your first arepa. - It's delicious. - Yes, yes! That was something special. I was so honored to spend time with Alice and can see why Care Givers is so important for the community here. Now I'm heading to La Dolce Vita, nestled in Heritage Square in Oxnard. After years of running a deli with her mother, executive chef Michelle Kenney has turned this historic house into a family-run restaurant that serves up delicious Italian cuisine. And I'm sure she's excited to get cooking on The Good Truck for the Care Givers. - Hey. - Hello Chef Michelle. - Welcome to La Dolce Vita. - [Alejandro] Thank you very much. I'm very excited about this. - Me too. - I spent the whole day with the Care Givers. What they do is really cool. - Can't wait to cook for them tonight. - Well, let's do it. - Okay. We've been in Oxnard for, over 40 years actually. This house that we're in, the McGrath House, they built it in 1901. Me and my mom started the deli, made all our own stuff, and gnocchi, and ravioli, and sorbet, and everything. And it was easy to kind of transgress into a restaurant. My family came from Italy. One side was sausage-making and all the kinda meat side. And then the other was produce. My grandma was the big inspiration. I said I got my start from catering business when we were like 10. You know, it was like I just grew up doing it. Everything should be as best as it could be. That's kinda my philosophy. It should look the best, it should taste the best. Gourmet food, naturally prepared. We work with Care Givers. There's a lot of different fundraising things that they do that we are real supportive of. You know 'cause it's a great community organization. Community's, it's amazing, and here at Heritage Square it's this little hub. And you know it's real personal. You know they're farming families and we use their products, we use their produce, what people are growing right now, and that whole circle thing you know? - Chef Michelle is heading out with The Good Truck to begin setting up for dinner while I'm going back to the Care Givers office to surprise Tammy and the staff. I hope they're hungry. Welcome, welcome. - Thank you. - No please. Pardon me. We have a very special surprise for you guys. So make yourselves comfortable. We're gonna take you to a very special place and give back to you. We'll see you very soon, okay? This is the truck of the good deeds right here. I'm very excited to show you what we have. - Hi! - Very special treat and choose any seat you'd like. - Thanks. - [Alejandro] Thank you very much for coming. I think the Care Givers speak to me at a very personal level because I was a caregiver myself for my grandfather. So in my name, and the name of The Good Truck, we hope you enjoy this wonderful dinner prepared by our Chef Michelle from La Dolce Vita. - Thank you for coming. I'm so excited to cook for you. - Thank you so much Chef. - You're welcome, see you in a bit. - I just wanna note that there are probably about 430 of you that are not sitting at the table tonight that volunteer and serve this organization throughout Ventura County. So when you see them, pass on the love. - I've been with Care Givers since 2004. I got much more from Miss Violet than I think I gave her. This was her 103rd birthday. - [Care Givers Staff] 103rd birthday, wow. - Oh yeah. - Oh wow. - Holy cow! - Look at that! - You end up getting so much more than you give. It's really a selfish act when you volunteer. - Thank you so much, oh wow. - Wonderful! - Dinner was fabulous, the food was incredible. And the company's even better. - It brings out the goodness of people, I mean, not only the person who's volunteering, but the person who gets the services. It's a community. - It's a bonding. - It's a relationship, it's a friendship. - In Spanish we say, we don't know where we're going if we don't know where we're from. And it is very important for us to honor the older generations with the respect that we received from them. So thank you very much for coming and I hope you enjoyed. - Yes. - [Alejandro] Thank you very much. What a wonderful time I had with the Care Givers. Ventura has such a strong, supportive community. It's an inspiration. Now it's onwards in The Good Truck to see who else we can give back to.