Last Thanksgiving, 76 MRV Thanksgiving baskets were assembled and delivered to families and individuals in need. Over 300 people were helped to have a free Thanksgiving meal thanks to the generosity of the Mad River Valley community and volunteers.
“We aren’t sure, but the need might be even greater this year,” said Judy Beningson, project coordinator. “We know that COVID has put an increased burden on families, in terms of both finances and time, so we are getting ready to help even more families this year.”
The program works in two ways. Food and cash donations are collected and volunteers package Thanksgiving food. Families and individuals in need throughout The Valley, covering Moretown, Waitsfield, Warren and Fayston, let organizers know they would like a basket. The baskets include all the ingredients they will need for a Thanksgiving meal: turkey, vegetables, bread, fruit, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and pie. In 2019, 76 families and over 300 people were helped. The whole meal is free of charge.
This year, many things stay the same and a few changes are put in place for COVID. Changes include:
- Adult-only volunteers this year. Sign up at: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e094caeaf2fa0f58-mrvthanksgiving
- Volunteers will be limited inside the church and all wearing masks.
- Volunteers will deliver basket to anyone who needs.
- Volunteers will bring items to those who pick up their baskets.
“Last year’s Bourne Energy turkey drive was a huge success, and we are doing it again this year. On Saturday, November 14, stop by the Bourne Energy offices on Main Street in Waitsfield (right near the river parking lot). They will have a tent set up to collect food, checks or cash donations and frozen turkeys,” Beningson said.
“Help from the community is critical, annual sponsors ST Paving has already donated 30 turkeys. Mehuron’s is helping to buy and store turkeys. And The Valley Reporter office is a food collection site,” she added.
The program is sponsored by the Mad River Interfaith Council who ensures organizers have the donations and volunteers needed to make this tradition continue.
New this year, the Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) is helping out. High school seniors Julia Brophy and Sarah Graham are leading the effort. They will be organizing their community to help the greater Valley.
For folks who want to receive Thanksgiving Baskets, there are forms available through local pastors, the school nurses in Warren, Waitsfield, Moretown and Fayston, at the Mad River Valley Food Shelf or by calling or emailing the Mad River Community Fund.
“Just fill out the forms so we know how many people to pack for and whether to deliver or if you will pick up,” Beningson said.
Those who want to donate are asked to buy food from the list below or send checks to the Mad River Interfaith Council at P.O. Box 342, Waitsfield, VT 05673. Food and check donations can be also dropped at The Valley Reporter’s new office on the Slow Road next to Sportive or use the Paypal link at: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=W9YNSWQCQCP6C&source=url
Food shopping list:
(In order to balance the meals, people are asked to buy the sizes requested, or close to them, if possible)
- Apples (1 bag)
- Apple sauce (20-25 oz.)
- Biscuit mix (box)
- Brownie mix (box)
- Canned fruit (13-15 oz. can)
- Canned vegetables (14-16 oz. cans: corn, peas or green beans)
- Carrots (one bag)
- Crackers (8-12 oz. box)
- Cranberry sauce (14 oz. can)
- Gravy (1 can/bottle)
- Onions (1-2)
- Peanut Butter (16-20 oz.jar)
- Potatoes (1 bag)
- Stuffing (1 box/bag)
- Tuna (9-12 oz. can)