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Food for Thought

Brad’s middle school required students to do some work for the community. For Brad, Thanksgiving was always a feast. Brad’s family had lots of great cooks. The aromas in the house on Thanksgiving Day and the food on the table were awesome – truly a time to give thanks for all the things his big family had.

So when Brad learned about the community project in September, it didn’t take him long to figure out that he wanted to donate turkeys for families who could not afford a “feast.” He talked to all of his aunts and uncles about each donating a turkey. He asked his neighbors and his friends’ parents, too. He got pledges for 23 turkeys!

Then he called the local food bank and told the director about the pledges. The director told Brad that if he wanted to do “more,” Brad could come down to the food bank and help box up the donated meals — turkeys, canned cranberries and veggies, sweet potatoes, and pies. Brad said he would like to visit.

A few weeks later as Thanksgiving drew near, Brad arrived at the food bank, and he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was a huge warehouse with piles of boxes of food. There were more than 200 volunteers scurrying around the warehouse floor, busily going about their duties.

The director explained that there was much to be done, and if Brad wanted to help out, the food bank could always use another set of hands and an energetic body.

That year Brad helped in the warehouse, but he also drove along with the delivery people to help carry the boxes. When he saw how much these boxes meant to the people who received them, Brad understood how important this work really was to him.

By Thanksgiving Day, the food bank had delivered nearly 3,000 pounds of food to people who would not otherwise have had a Thanksgiving. Brad had become part of a very large effort and had done much more than he’d set out to do.

That was five years ago, and each year since, Brad has collected more turkeys than the year before and returned to work at the food bank. What began as a school project has become a way for Brad to celebrate Thanksgiving.