Earlier in November we showed you how Avera McKennan and the Sioux Falls Salvation Army have partnered for the 2nd annual Harvest of Hope project. A food drive within the hospital to provide families in the area with all the ingredients they need to make a Thanksgiving meal at home. We want to follow-up and show you all the boxes that came in to the Salvation Army to make Thanksgiving very special for some folks who could use a little something special in these tough economic times.
Three Salvation Army trucks were filled with hundreds of boxes of great thought, effort and love. Inside is the Harvest of Hope. It's a project that Avera McKennan started last year with the Salvation Army to help fill a need that wasn't being met in the community. By departments, Avera McKennan employees went shopping boxed everything up in an effort to make sure this Thanksgiving Holiday would be complete for families who couldn't afford the traditional meal. The need is even greater this year.
Salvation Army Major Betty Bender says, "It's very difficult for them. They are using money for other necessities and Thanksgiving would have just been another day for them so they are very grateful for the food baskets."
Inside the box you'll find all the ingredients to make a Thanksgiving feast, like potatoes, stuffing and some other staples like chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter and flour.
Avera McKennan Volunteer Services Director Jennifer Grossman says, "I'm really excited. I'm overwhelmed. We've been planning this for so long. We put it out there on October 1st and to see the boxes keep coming in and the numbers keep growing, just to see how many families we can feed, it's really exciting."
This isn't just about the food, it's about nurturing souls too. Having family together at home during a holiday means a lot to everyone and Avera McKennan wanted everyone to know that isn't lost on them.
Jen says, "That's what Avera McKennan is all about. That's why it's exciting for the entire hospital to see what we can give back to the community. Especially this time of year, we know it's such an important part of the holiday to be with your family and actually have what they need to celebrate together. It's a really big deal."
Major Bender say, "It's a wonderful project and it says to them (families) that other people in the community care about them and want them to have a equally nice thanksgiving."
More than 400 families were fed through the Harvest of Hope, giving thousands of people another reason to be thankful for this blessed holiday and the giving spirit that encompasses it.
The Salvation Army lined up the folks who got the food baskets. They either picked them up at the Salvation Army or Avera McKennan employees volunteered to deliver them the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Each box had a gift certificate for the family to pick up a free turkey or ham from HyVee purchased by Avera employees.