Thanksgiving is a special day for many families. It’s a time when we gather together with extended family and friends. We enjoy the food and fellowship and the monetary pause from an ever-increasing hectic world. Unfortunately, for an increasing number of families, Thanksgiving is just another day.
Six years ago, Families Helping Families started an effort called The Full Thanksgiving Table Effort.' The goal of this outreach was to ensure that every family in Clinton would have a true Thanksgiving Thursday. We shopped and found that for $25 one could buy the basics for a family of four. That first year, we gave out 100 $25 gift cards. Due to economic circumstances and the COVID crisis, the number of families continues to grow each year.
The entire Clinton community joined this Thanksgiving outreach and it has become a town-wide effort to provide for every family. This year we thought the number of gift cards needed, 400, would insure that every family dependent on the Clinton Food Pantry would have a more complete Thanksgiving table. We actually needed 480 grocery gift cards. What we have learned over the past 16 years is that the entire Clinton community rallies together to meet the needs of its residents.
The Clinton Manufacturing Coalition adopted this program as one of their community outreach programs and collected many gift cards. The Clinton Lions Club shared its resources with us. Many residents donated online, sent checks, and stuffed our Tom the Turkey with an overflow of grocery gift cards. The result was, once again, the community in its generosity made sure every family had a table with many of the traditional Thanksgiving foods on it.
In Clinton caring about and sharing with others is not just an occasional occurrence it is a way of life.