Agencies make appeal for Thanksgiving donations

Motorcycle club aids Family Promise clients
Nov. 21, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

As people reflect on their blessings in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, some will have more to be thankful for than others. And for those less fortunate, many local charities are asking their more fortunate neighbors to consider contributing.

The Bread Basket is in search of dozens of turkeys and other food. Christians United Outreach Center is holding a food drive this weekend. Family Promise of Lee County has already collected items during a recent food drive.

Fredrika Cooke, executive director of Family Promise — a group that provides temporary housing for homeless families and helps them find education or work — said local motorcycle club Tha Team has raised enough money and food to give a nice Thanksgiving dinner to 16 families who have gone through Family Promise and are no longer homeless but still struggling.

The club donated boxes of non-perishables plus a grocery store voucher for each family to buy a full Thanksgiving dinner, complete with a turkey, sides and dessert.

"We talk [so much] about people not doing enough that when we have groups that actually do, it's just really awesome and they deserve credit," Cooke said, thanking Tha Team for their work both on this effort and another recent fundraiser for Family Promise.

She said the three families now in Family Promise's day center in Jonesboro will celebrate Thanksgiving together at an apartment in town "so that the children do not have to experience the thought of being homeless on Thanksgiving."

Across town at the Bread Basket near downtown Sanford, volunteers feed anyone who walks in the door in need of a hot, fresh meal during lunchtime. Susan Rosenthal, who manages the operation, said Wednesday she's anticipating a giant crowd on Thanksgiving and is still in need of 83 turkeys or chickens, plus whatever sides — especially green beans and pork and beans — people can give.

"The economy, it was bad last year," Rosenthal said. "We're still [providing] 50,000 plates a year."

That's double what it was before the recession, she said, adding, "Some people, I've seen get jobs. But a lot of them are still feeling the pinch."

Rosenthal said anyone who wants to donate food can drop it off at the Bread Basket, located at 140 E. Chisholm Street in Sanford, between 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on weekdays. She said people can also call the Bread Basket at (919) 774-3118 to set up another time to meet with her or a volunteer to drop off donations.

At CUOC, which gives out boxes of food to those in need at its Lee Avenue food bank, Executive Director Teresa Kelly said donations are always requested and appreciated — especially around the holidays.

This weekend, people who want to help CUOC and also get a little something in return can bring three or more cans of food to the Chick-Fil-A at 3224 Highway 87, Sanford, on Friday or Saturday and will receive a coupon for a free chicken sandwich.

And looking ahead to the Christmas season, the Lee County Enrichment Center is collecting food for elderly residents facing tough times. Tami Carter, the center's social work supervisor, said people who want to sponsor a local senior can stop by the Enrichment Center at 1615 S. Third St. to pick up a list of suggested grocery items. The donations must be returned by Dec. 6, Carter said.