Thanksgiving will look quite different this year due to the pandemic, and nonprofits across Bloomington-Normal are asking for the community's help for families in need.
Midwest Food Bank, Home Sweet Home Ministries, and Thrivent Financial have partnered with 15 local churches for their Give Thanks distribution in November. Their goal is to provide 2,500 households with meal boxes for Thanksgiving.
They are asking for the community’s help in collecting the following items for meal boxes:
- 1 Box of Stuffing Mix
- 2 Cans of Green Beans
- 2 Cans of Cream of Mushroom
- 1 Box of Mashed Potatoes
- 1 Envelope of Gravy (no jars)
- 1 Regular Can of French Fried Onions
- 1 Can of Cranberry Sauce
- 1 Box of Pie Crust Mix
- 1 Can of Pumpkin Pie
- 1 Can of Evaporated Milk
- 1 Turkey
Donations will be accepted at Midwest Food Bank in Normal or at Home Sweet Home Ministries in Bloomington.
Midwest Food Bank Executive Director Tara Ingham said local pantries have seen a 20% to 50% uptick in need for food this year compared with previous years.
“That means either they're seeing more families, more individuals coming into their pantries because of the pandemic, or perhaps the families and the individuals that they're already serving are in a higher level of need than normal and need more food than what they've ever taken before,” Ingham said.
Hy-Vee in Bloomington hosted a special shopping event Oct. 3-4 and will do so again from 1-5 p.m. Oct. 10-11. The store will have its seasonal room set up for boxes to be filled and online orders through the Hy-Vee app can be ready for order pickups by Midwest Food Bank. Turkey cards valued at $15 also will be available for purchase at the registers.
The nonprofits have partnered with Bloomington and Normal Schnucks grocery stores, too. They will have an option for shoppers to buy a pre-filled shopping bag from the register for $10. Orders also can be left at Schnucks for Midwest Food Bank to pick up and $15 turkey cards will be available at the registers.
Ingham said needs will be greater this year due to the pandemic, but she is optimistic organizers will reach their donation goals for the holiday as they’ve done in past years.
“I'm so excited to see the community come together and to provide that opportunity for other households to just have a reason to say thanks this Thanksgiving. That's what it's all about,” she said.
Anyone in need can pick up meal boxes and turkeys at Midwest Food Bank from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 21, and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 23.
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