Many families are planning to return to larger gatherings this Thanksgiving, the second one we're celebrating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fifty-three million Americans are expected to travel this week, up 13% from last year, according to AAA. Community organizations and leaders around Southern California are stepping up to help residents with resources they may need for Thanksgiving.

In this week's "In Focus SoCal," host Tanya McRae sits down with Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio to talk about her annual Operation Gobble event happening Nov. 23 at Gladstone High School in Covina.

"The only thing that I can do is try to provide some local resources," said Rubio. "And you know, it's Thanksgiving. Everybody deserves a Thanksgiving dinner, to be able to share with their family and hopefully this will be the last Thanksgiving that we do during pandemic times."

The assembly member has also authored several bills that were signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. One legislation is aimed to reduce hospital and emergency department re-admissions and provides medically tailored meals for Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

McRae also meets with Ric Whitfield, founder of the Watts Finest Car Club, which has been hosting food giveaways every week for neighbors since the pandemic started.

"I've been here all my life since 1963, and during a pandemic, I've seen a lot of people that was really in need," said Whitfield. "And you know, we were trying to figure out a way that we can help to give back."

Ellis Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn, joins this week's show to discuss the organization's Turkey Guardian initiative.

"For 22 years, we've been rescuing turkeys from Thanksgiving, and we've been asking people to sponsor them and not eat them, and adopt a plant-based diet instead," she said.

Check out the initiative here.

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