Volunteers to prepare 350 free Thanksgiving baskets for North Minneapolis families

Submitted photo Organizers preparing for the Thanksgiving meals giveaway at a previous event.

On November 18, an enthusiastic group of church members and community volunteers will gather at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church to prepare and pack a record number of Thanksgiving dinner baskets.

The food will be distributed to 350 families in need in time for Turkey Day. This will be the 13th consecutive year that the North Minneapolis church has given the gift of Thanksgiving dinner to the community and it will be the biggest year yet for the holiday tradition.

“Last year we gave out 220 baskets but with the high price of groceries, we had more families who wanted to participate this year,” said church organizer Stephanie Maggitt. “Our members stepped up to donate more money so we could add more families to our list.”

In addition to a 12 to 16-lb turkey for each family, baskets will be loaded with all the trimmings for a festive traditional meal—stuffing, potatoes, gravy, rolls, corn, cranberries, dessert and more.

“When we started in 2009 we just gave turkeys but now it’s a whole basket of food they can use for that long weekend when the kids are home and people are off work,” Maggitt said. “We even give them a disposable pan for cooking the turkey.”

Sheletta Brundidge, a member of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and founder of the podcast platform ShelettaMakesMeLaugh.com, is getting her advertisers to come to the church and volunteer to help stuff the baskets.

“I’m looking for opportunities to bring in my partners to my community and my church, where they can make a difference,” Brundidge said. 

Employees from podcast sponsors including Target, General Mills, Bremer Bank, UnitedHealthcare, Comcast and the YMCA of the North will roll up their sleeves alongside church members.

“We have a culture of volunteering in our company, from our leaders on down. We want to be involved in our hometown and home state and want to make sure people have what they need to celebrate this holiday with their friends and families,” said Beth Pliego, community engagement manager at UnitedHealthcare, who will be among the volunteers.

The food will be purchased at a discount from Hy-Vee, another one of Brundidge’s partners.

“In the past we had to rent a truck and pick up the food and all those boxes of turkeys. Now Hy-Vee is delivering it for free, which is quite a blessing,” said. Maggitt. “There are so many people in need. The people who will get these baskets are very thankful.”

Maggitt said the waiting list is closed and the church is at capacity for the number of baskets they can give away this year. Her hope is that in 2023, in addition to church members pitching in, corporate sponsors will also contribute so the church can serve more families in need.

For more Thanksgiving meal giveaways, see the MSR’s roundup.

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