By Jacob Mathias
Thanksgiving will be happier for 400 local families in need.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School held its ninth annual Thanksgiving Basket Charity event on Nov. 18. Every year, the church provides full Thanksgiving meals to 400 local families in need. Each recipient received a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, sweet potatoes, gravy and pies.
“The most important message that I want to get through is that these families have struggles like everybody,” said charity coordinator Jenny Worzella. “But take a day, forget the struggles and take a day to enjoy the blessings.”
Worzella has coordinated the charity for the past eight years.
“Our congregation members, community…anybody who feels they need one, gets one,” she said.
Dozens of volunteers joined together as they coordinated turkey, sides and supply boxes to those families in need. Along with Thanksgiving food, books, personal hygiene items and winter clothes for every member of the families were provided.
Worzella said there is a waiting list of 20 families beyond the 400 family limit. Since some families don’t show up for their food, the waiting list gets filled. If any food or supplies are leftover, St. Paul’s donates them to the Salvation Army Hope Center.
“The economy doesn’t seem to dictate a need to go higher,” she said. “If that would be the case, we would make it work; 400 seems to be the magic number.”
The food and funds for the charity were provided by several local businesses and organizations.
The church also runs a year-round food pantry open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM to 2 PM.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School is located at 1919 Wyatt Ave. in Stevens Point.