An early Christmas giftPublished 10:45am Thursday, December 22, 2011
Feed a Family delivers 717 Christmas dinners to locals
The community came together on Wednesday and made sure nearly every needy family in Mower County will have a happy holiday.
For the fourth year, Hy-Vee hosted its Feed a Family donation, an idea created by Hy-Vee and KAUS Radio.
“It was kind of an idea put together by both of us,” Hy-Vee Manager Todd Hepler said.
During the past several weeks, donations from businesses, volunteers, employees and area residents raised enough money to give 717 families complete Christmas dinners.
“It’s just a no-brainer,” said Lori Blanton, who was one of 28 people who helped package and distribute the dinners at Hy-Vee. “It’s really cool how it works out.”
The Salvation Army compiles a list of families that could use Christmas dinners, sends vouchers to those families, and from there the community makes it happen. With local monetary donations, donations directly from Hy-Vee, Mrs. Jerry’s in Albert Lea and the Mower County Dairy Association, each bag contained one ham, sweet and mashed potatoes, two cans of vegetables, one pound of butter, cranberry sauce and a pumpkin pie.
From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Hy-Vee designated a section of its store where recipients picked up their packaged Christmas dinners. Those who donated to the program on Wednesday received free drinks from Caribou Coffee.
Hepler said every year the event is successful, and the program just met its $10,000 goal the night before the meals were distributed. Including donated food items, Feed a Family compiled $25,000 worth of food.
“When we put a goal out, it seems like our community comes together,” Hepler said.
Hepler has seen the billboards and heard the radio adds, which say things like one in eight people are hungry.
“There are a lot of people out there in our community (who wouldn’t otherwise) have a Christmas dinner,” Hepler said.
Though he knows that problem can’t be solved in one day, Feed a Family can help for one special day during the holidays.
“When you wake up Christmas morning, everybody has a meal,” Hepler said. “We’re making sure every person Christmas morning, everybody has dinner that day. It’s just one day where everybody knows that everybody is OK.”