When 260 local families answered their doors Monday afternoon, they were greeted with brightly colored laundry baskets filled with their Thanksgiving dinner.
An assembly line of volunteers from the Light of Life Mission and 10 local non-profits filled and delivered the baskets to local families who would not be able to purchase food for the holiday.
“To be able to provide a holiday meal like that in your own home provides somebody with dignity and self-worth, really, to be able to give to other people,” said Kate Wadsworth, Light of Life spokeswoman. “And so, that we’re able to come along side and support that happening for families in their own home so that they can have their own memories together is a really great feeling.”
This is the third year the Light of Life Mission has taken part in the Thanksgiving Basket project, but Reverend Diana Marshall from the New Dawn Beginnings Outreach Ministry began creating the baskets 18 years ago in her home using money from her own pocket.
“I see it just blossom, it’s just such a blessing” Marshall said. “And I walked in and I saw all the different rooms and the tables and the organization, and it was just fantastic…this has made my day, I’ve had my Thanksgiving today.”
Each basket was packed with a 15-pound turkey and enough instant mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, canned corn, green beans and yams, brown sugar, marshmallows, pies, rolls and butter to feed a family of four.
Marshall said the baskets are wrapped in colorful cellophane and a ribbon because they are gifts - not “hand-outs.”
“It made them feel so special because when people are in need, they don’t need to be reminded that they’re in need,” Marshall said. “And when you give them a gift, and when we say that we’re going to bless someone, then you want a blessing that will come that will make you feel good.”
The churches and non-profits identified the families and personally delivered the baskets Monday afternoon - with enough time for the turkey to thaw, Wadsworth noted.
Light of Life will also be serving meals at their Great Thanksgiving Banquet from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.