This Thanksgiving 350 families will dine on turkey dinners with all the trimmings thanks to food boxes prepared with love on Friday, Nov. 18 at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in North Minneapolis.
This was the 13th year the church has raised funds for Thanksgiving food for those in need. Taking place on Sat., Nov. 19, it was the biggest giveaway by far, both in the number of families served and the number of community volunteers who joined church members to tackle the job of packing all those boxes.
“We’ve never had this many people come to volunteer. This is the best turnout we’ve ever seen. I’m flabbergasted,” said Stephanie Maggitt, who heads the Thanksgiving giveaway for the church. “Last year we gave away 220 boxes and we thought that was a lot. This year we’re doing 130 more than that, so we are glad for the help.”
Church member and media personality Sheletta Brundidge tapped employees of businesses she partners with on her podcasting platform, SHElettaMakesMeLaugh.com to participate. Volunteers from HyVee, Bremer Bank, Clear Channel Outdoors, General Mills, Comcast and UnitedHealthcare joined the assembly line of helping hands that prepared the giveaway.
“Sheletta invited us to come and when she calls, I show up,” said Dan Ballard, from Clear Channel Outdoors. “This is a great way to get in the spirit for the holidays.”
“Our company’s purpose is to create thriving communities and what better way to do it than to join forces and give some help,” said Mike Rose, a senior communications specialist at Bremer Bank.
Stacey Nelson-Kumar, director of community impact for Comcast, brought her children to join her in volunteering. “Comcast supports communities where our customers and our employees live and work. We’re lucky to have an opportunity to give back to them,” she said.
The church purchased the food from Hy-Vee and the grocery store delivered all the products—and all those turkeys—free of charge. “Being in the food business, it’s important for us to partner with organizations like Fellowship Church to help eliminate food insecurity,” said Mike Graham, store manager at the Robbinsdale Hy-Vee.
In addition to a 12 to 16-lb turkey and a disposable pan to roast it in, each box contained stuffing, potatoes, and gravy, rolls, cornbread, green beans, cranberries, and dessert, plus staple ingredients including rice, beans, and mac and cheese.
Many of the boxes also contained a copy of one of the picture books Brundidge has written.
The variety and amount of food in the boxes was an impressive surprise to Brian O’Hara, who was sworn in earlier this month as the new Minneapolis police chief. “I’m blown away. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Chief O’Hara said. “I’ve seen when people get handed a turkey out of the back of the truck, nothing as nice as this. It’s incredible.”
The chief was accompanied by several uniformed officers along with Minnesota State Troopers and Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies who carried the completed boxes to the folks who lined up to receive them.
“With the high price of groceries, we had more families who wanted to participate this year,” said Stephanie Maggit. “Even so, there were some people we had to turn away.”
She hopes that next Thanksgiving, more corporate sponsors will join the contributions made by church members to serve even more people in the community in need.
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