It’s not easy coordinating 1,000-plus pounds of frozen turkeys and accompanying turkey baskets with a skeleton volunteer crew, but even COVID-19 couldn’t stop another successful Mad River Valley Interfaith Council Thanksgiving Basket drive this year.

That’s the word from volunteer Judy Beningson who managed this year’s effort.

“Thank you to everyone who donated, lifted, baked, raised funds and made cards; this year we collectively helped 75 families and 293 people across The Valley towns,” she said.


All families received a complete dinner, with a 10- to 15-pound turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, fruit, homemade bread, cranberry sauce, butter, brownie mix, biscuit mix, applesauce, pie and Cabot cheese.

Sponsors and volunteers were critical to make this event work, she said and listed a few.

Turkeys were donated by Bourne’s Energy and ST Paving and the Round Barn. Cabot Cheese donated cheese, every year, for many years of cheddar. Rick Rayfield baked 80 loaves of homemade bread and pie bakers made donated homemade pies. The Valley Reporter and the United Church of Christ in Waitsfield helped gather supplies while Gwen Hoadley and her team held a big parking lot turkey and food drive this year.

“Mehuron’s, the Mad River Food Hub and Shaw’s all contributed and the crew at Mehuron’s carted up a huge hand truck’s worth for food and produce and a generous donation to boot,” she said.


Local schools, the food shelf and the Mad River Valley Community Fund helped get the word out while local Girl Scouts contributed handmade cards for the baskets. All the religious communities in The Valley donated food and money. First-time donation efforts came from the Green Mountain Valley School this year, led by members of the senior class. Another first-time surprise, Beningson said, was a generous donation from the Waitsfield United Church of Christ bottle and can drive.

She offered thanks to all the people, local and remote, year-round and part-time, residents and visitors who donated checks and food and her seven-member volunteer team who made it happen.

“Thanks again to the whole community for helping so many people with your money, time and actions. Happy holidays,” she added.