According to the Census Bureau, over 45 million people in the United States live in poverty. Some only have enough money to keep a roof over their heads, let alone any left over to buy any food. For some, a Thanksgiving meal means a table with a few of the cheapest items, if there’s any food on the table at all. Yet for some of the families of HR who can’t afford a Thanksgiving meal, this empty table doesn’t have to be a reality.
Every Thanksgiving, FCCLA, or Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, puts together baskets full of food for the families of HR who wouldn’t otherwise be able to have a meal for Thanksgiving.
“FCCLA, as you might already know, is a leadership club, so what we do is a lot of community service work involving family sciences,” said Ushmi Akruwala, sophomore, member of FCCLA and one of the students in charge of this event. “So we’re partnering with Ms. Griffith, who’s the social worker here, and she gives us a number of families who honestly can not afford to have a big Thanksgiving meal. So we make these baskets that have all of the traditional Thanksgiving necessities.”
The contents of the baskets vary, as does where the food comes from. Members of the club will sign up to donate what they can, and if a basket is missing something, the club will ask a store, like Target, to donate food.
After showing the store some documents to prove that the food and/or money is going to families of the school and is not to be kept by the members themselves, the stores will usually agree to donate. In that case, the members will receive either a giftcard to purchase the missing items or simply receive the items themselves.
“I think we did about six baskets this year, so we got them to six families that need a Thanksgiving meal,” Chelsea Griffith said.
Sometimes the baskets are full of cans, sometimes they’re full of instant foods, like instant potatoes, and sometimes they’re full of actual ingredients, like real potatoes. One year, FCCLA even baked full pies for the families rather than just giving the families the ingredients necessary to bake a pie.
There are some families who are living in hotels, who can’t exactly cook an entire turkey, or don’t even need to. Those families might just receive a gift card for the store who donated the food or money. This way it is easier for them to go out and purchase their own meat. Whether that’s a few slices of turkey or some ham, they can decide what they want and how much of it they want.
While the contents of the baskets themselves may vary, the intention is still the same.
Griffith said, “In this day in age, so many of us can get so stuck thinking about ourselves and making sure all is well for only ourselves and our families. This is a nice way to help where we can and give to others who may not be able to have a nice Thanksgiving meal without some help.”
Kathryn Lopez, Staff Reporter