KCRA Thanksgiving on North B Street

Published On November 25, 2016 | By Mike Carroll | KCRA-TV, Mike's TV News Stories, Shooting News

Working the Holidays:

Working in TV news is like very few other regular jobs. TV news goes on the air 365 days a year. There are no holidays. Over the course of a career you’re going to work most holidays while your family and friends are at home enjoying nice dinners, watching football or baseball games, etc.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons of what I like about this job—the perfect excuse on why you can’t attend family functions. It offers the perfect excuse for getting out of attending family functions!

But that’s just me.

Employees of Syntrol hand out a bag of dog food to someone in need.

Employees of Syntrol hand out a bag of dog food to someone in need.

Newsrooms are like every business that is open on a holiday and tends to be short-staffed. This holiday season I have volunteered to work each of the major holidays. One of the caveats being that I requested volunteered to be a photographer-reporter on these days to try to contribute a story to the newscast.

Yes, I am a team player. But I am also, admittedly, vain—I like to hear my name said on TV.

Working Thanksgiving’s:

If you work in this business long enough then on Thanksgiving you will get a lot of experience filming feeding the hungry. I can’t count how many times I have been in a homeless shelter on a Thanksgiving morning

This morning was something very different and quite special.

I was initially sent out to film a routine feed-the-hungry event at a nearby Salvation Army. When I got there it was still too early, so I drove around a little bit. Most of Sacramento’s homeless services are in the area of North B St., just a few blocks from KCRA.

Laura Davis of Hope for Homeless leads a prayer on North B Street.

Laura Davis of Hope for Homeless leads a prayer on North B Street.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been in that area on Thanksgiving morning and I have to say that I was shocked at seeing so many people there living. Hundreds and hundreds of people out on the street and the sidewalks, camped out in tents, looking lost. It truly was a tragic site.

Then I came across a group of people who were just pulling up and looked like they were coming to set up a feed-the-hungry food line.

Some of the good people from Syntrol, sharing what they have.

Some of the good people from Syntrol, sharing what they have.

They turned out to be employees from Syntrol, a solar heating, cooling energy-efficiency company based in Roseville, California, privately owned and operated, founded in 1996, that now has 200 employees. This was the second Thanksgiving morning that they were coming down to North B St. to feed-the-hungry, bring food, clothing, dog food for the people with dogs. Generally, to “give back.”

I have never seen a private business that had done something like this on a Holiday morning, at their own expense, to feed 200 of the hungry from trays of beautifully prepared food that was catered from the kitchen of the Crown Hotel. It was very impressive, very generous, and very different.

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So I stayed and talk with them and the people they were helping–all of whom, on both sides of the clothing and food tables, were good people.

Everyone, at one time or another in their life, falls on bad luck. Some people fall much harder than others. But it’s important to remember this:

We’re all in this together.

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The finished story runs two minutes and five seconds long.

You, the viewer, have to be the judge. I can only say that, for myself, and the 33 years of shooting news and covering Thanksgivings at events like this—this is the best Thanksgiving story that I think I have ever done.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays to everyone!

Brenda Uribe is given a Starbucks coffee.

Brenda Uribe is given a Starbucks coffee.

And as Ronald Johnson, one of the people who who lives on the streets and was interviewed in the story, wisely said, “And can we all get along? Yes we can. Are we all the same? Yes we are.”

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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

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