Three Days of Thanksgiving
On Bainbridge Island, hundreds of families regularly find themselves without adequate food to put on the table. This past year, more than 750 families used the Helpline House food bank.
Three Days of Thanksgivng is a Helpline House project that matches the generosity of our community with those Bainbridge Island families in need. Due to our limited space and facilities, we don't serve a hot Thanksgiving meal, but we try to make it possible for anyone who wants one to cook their own.
Individuals, families and groups are invited to supply the foods needed for the Thanksgiving holiday. The need will be greater this year. Won't you help? Working together, we can meet the need.
Like many food banks, Helpline House has a tradition of providing generous traditional Thanksgiving foods and a turkey during the week of Thanksgiving, and relies upon our generous community to provide much of the feast.
The week before Thanksgiving, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 15-16-17, Helpline will be accepting food donations for the holiday. There will be food drives at the grocery stores and at some of the Island schools. Everyone can participate in this "Community food drive". Here are some ideas:
- Purchase the "fixings" for a complete Thanksgiving meal and deliver to Helpline
- Arrange a mini-food drive among a neighborhood or group
- Donate basic foods directly to Helpline or through grocery stores food drives
- Drop a few food items in the permanent food bank donation bins at the grocery stores
- Purchase grocery store gift cards or donate cash to defray Helpline's purchases of fresh items
Helpline will distribute food to registered food bank users on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, November 19-20-21. The agency strives to provide food for people in the most dignified manner and because knowing the preferences and opinions of the clientele is essential to understanding how best to meet that goal, we recently surveyed food bank users and asked about their preference for Thanksgiving week-the traditional box, or a turkey and a "regular" shopping, with some extra holiday food items. Over 75% of those surveyed preferred "regular" shopping over the box. Some told us that, although they appreciated the special holiday items, what they really needed was basic foods for their pantries to stretch their food budgets-food available in the food bank but not in the boxes. Other clients told us they had invitations for dinner and did not intend to cook so skipped the box or accepted it simply to receive their milk and eggs for the week, donating back the bulk of the boxed items.
So, instead of a prepackaged box of food at Thanksgiving, Helpline will provide registered clients access to the food bank for "regular" shopping during Thanksgiving week. This model of service is a better fit with how we operate on a daily basis, since we routinely provide choice to our clients during their weekly visits rather than pre-packing an emergency box of food. We will offer every household a "centerpiece protein" such as turkey, ham or roasting chicken or game hen (depending on donations!) as well as holiday pie, milk, eggs and butter. As with our usual service, the selection of other items in the food bank will vary from time to time; as the community is very generous during this time, we anticipate that people will "shop" for and find many, many wonderful special treats in addition to some basic food items.
It is our goal that this year the food bank will be assisting those in need with much of what they might need not only for a Thanksgiving feast, but for several days beyond. Across Bainbridge, the entire community-through giving and sharing-will indeed be a Community Well-Fed.
Helpline House gratefully accepts donations of food items and cash donations for the food bank daily, Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Special treat, turkeys & hams, and grocery gift cards (suggested amounts: $15 or $15) especially appreciated during the holidays.