With the holiday around the corner, hundreds of local families will no longer have to wonder if they will have a Thanksgiving meal.
The meal kits will be distributed to 250 families in need at the Woodland Crossing shopping center, behind Bill’s Barbecue, beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Bob Martin, president and CEO of THOR Industries, described the partnership Tuesday as a win-win.
“This is something we’ve done for several years now and it’s a great program,” he said. “It’s a tough time for many right now, especially around the holidays and we want to give back and help as many as we can enjoy their Thanksgiving with a meal.”
Church Community Services serves an average of 1,400 families a month, which equates to about 5,000 individuals. Since the beginning of the year, the agency has seen a 60% increase in customers, according to Development Director Frank Lucchese.
“Just a few weeks ago, we had 321 people come through our doors and we gave away 21,000 pounds of food in two days – that’s the size of a school bus,” he said.
People who come in get 4-50 pounds of food and often get fresh produce and choice items.
Food insecurity spikes even more around the holidays, Lucchese said.
He expressed his gratitude to THOR Industries for donating and helping to pack and distribute the Thanksgiving meals. The RV manufacturer donated $13,000 for the food itself. THOR also donated a delivery van to the agency.
“Thanks to THOR, 250 families will have a Thanksgiving meal and we’re appreciative of their partnership,” he said.
While help is crucial during the holiday season, Lucchese asserted that it’s also needed year-round. Food donations are useful; however, cash donations can be more so because the pantry can leverage a dollar six times over by buying a pallet, Lucchese said.
“When the economy starts to go down in Elkhart, the lines here get longer,” he said. “It’s important to help during the holidays, but it’s equally important to help year-round.”
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