Avera McKennan is inviting us, the community, to participate in its annual Harvest of Hope Project to help families in need this Thanksgiving. Last year, Avera McKennan employees provided ingredients for home cooked meals to more than 250 families in Sioux Falls and with your help they hope to help even more families.
Salvation Army Major Betty Bender takes stock of what's left on their pantry shelves daily. She says they are clearing out faster these days because the need is at an all time high. That's why she is so thankful Avera McKennan is partnering with the Salvation Army again for the 2nd annual Harvest of Hope project to supply families in need with all the fixins' for a Thanksgiving meal at home.
Avera McKennan Volunteer Services Director Jennifer Grossman says, "We started it last year because there was an unmet need in the community, but we decided we needed to make it a bigger deal. Last year we did it with just hospital staff. This year we want to include the community."
Participating in Harvest of Hope involves 3 easy steps:
-Go grocery shopping for the gift box items. You can find a list of all the ingredients that make up a holiday meal on Avera McKennan's web site. The estimated cost will run about $45. They have also included a list of staples that costs around $55. Staples include things like flour, sugar, peanut butter, tuna. Items most of us have in the cupboard at any given time, except when times are tough like they are now, people in need run out and can't afford to buy more.
-Your gift box won't be complete until you buy a $13 gift certificate that allows the families to get a turkey or ham at the HyVee on 37th and Minnesota. You can get purchase that at the Gift Shop on the main floor of Avera McKennan Hospital.
-The third step is to drop the boxes off at the Salvation Army by November 19th. Having the family together around the dinner table, especially on the holidays, can mean a lot when you're down on your luck.
Major Bender says, "There are plenty of places people can go to eat a meal, but for some families that's really difficult. For some families it's hard to take their kids and say we can't afford to eat Thanksgiving at home so we have to go to a feeding program. That's really difficult."
By participating in the Harvest of Hope, you are not only giving the gift of family togetherness, you're helping families keep a little bit more of their dignity. And that's quite a gift for $100.
The Salvation Army is getting the names of families in need and with the help of Avera McKennan employees they will be delivering the gift boxes to those families on Saturday November 21st.