We are so exceedingly grateful for each person who helped with this year’s free community Thanksgiving Meal! The incredible generosity of our church family and our community allowed us to switch to an all-delivery meal, at a time when many people truly needed it.
The planning team was determined not to skip this year, despite the challenges of feeding more than 3,000 people during a pandemic. Several county programs and Meals on Wheels are closed on Thanksgiving, leaving some of our most vulnerable neighbors without a meal. With prayerful discernment and careful planning, the Thanksgiving team made the decision to switch to an all-delivery meal, requiring double the amount of volunteer drivers. They trusted God would bring enough people forward.
In a typical year, 600 volunteers help prepare and serve about 3,000 meals, and about 1,600 are delivered. But this year, 590 people signed up as drivers to deliver 3,500 meals — plus the additional volunteers who prepared meals, took phone reservations, picked up donated food, and more. Altogether, more than 700 people volunteered this year! And everyone cheerfully adapted to doing things differently with masks, gloves and other protocols for our recipients’ safety.
For the first time ever, we had to close down meal reservations three days earlier than our stated deadline. Even though we planned for 500 extra meals, the economic hardships and cancellation of other meals meant that there were more people in need than ever before. To help, we referred people to two other local meals, and offered free groceries to anyone in need through our Food Pantry the week of Thanksgiving.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated food, gave a financial gift, or volunteered! And we thank this year’s community partners:
Fox Communities Credit Union • The Grand Meridian • Great Harvest Bakery • Hupy & Abraham • JJ Keller • Manderfield’s Bakery • N & M Transfer • U.S. Venture/The Schmidt Family Foundation
We thank our entire Thanksgiving Meal team for helping fulfill Jesus’ command to feed to hungry — and we thank God for this opportunity to love our Fox Valley neighbors.
“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell about all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”
• Psalm 9:1-2