BARSTOW Barstow's parents, grandparents and kids awoke early on a foggy Christmas morning Saturday, not to open presents or watch TV, but to prepare and deliver about 1,200 special meals to needy residents.

"I love it," said Barstow resident Albert Gallegos, who was putting utensils in bags. "It's great to give back. (To be) doing something good."

For the fifth Christmas Holiday Meals co-founder Mark Sielski and others turned the Barstow Senior Citizens Center into a giant assembly line as roughly 150 volunteers boxed and bagged ham, mashed potatoes, corn and salad and then delivered them.

In addition to delivering 1,200 meals on Christmas and another 1,200 on Thanksgiving, Holiday Meals assembled about 450 food baskets at each holiday.

"It'll be about 4,200 people that we're able to feed for Christmas," he said.

Many moms and dads dragged their kids to help at the Holiday Meals Christmas event. Michael Owens has brought his two kids, ages 15 and 7, to volunteer for every holiday for about three years.

"It's good to take care of other people before you worry about yourself," Owens said bringing out a pan of chocolate-peppermint cupcakes.

Salina Minguela and Martha Cervantes came with their grandmother, Mary Baca.

"We just wanted to help," they said.

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(760) 256-4123 or jcejnar@desertdispatch.com