BOISE, Idaho — The Thanksgiving holiday gets closer by the day and for some Idahoans, thinking about how to put the Thanksgiving feast on the table can be stressful. Luckily, St. Vincent de Paul in Boise has those in need covered with their annual Thanksgiving Food Box Program.
Registration to receive a food box continues this week.
"The program has flourished," said Melanie McLenna, the project manager for the program. "The food box program was started by people who were St. Vincent de Paul volunteers and that first year they had put together four food boxes for people that they knew couldn't afford it otherwise."
For 45 years, St. Vincent de Paul has put together Thanksgiving food boxes to serve hundreds and hundreds of Ada County families in need. Even throughout the current pandemic, organizers have not slowed down. Last year, they were able to help 2,000 families in need, a goal they're hoping to reach again for 2021.
The boxes come with a frozen turkey, 10 lbs of potatoes, pumpkin pie mix and more.
To be able to receive a box, people must register beforehand. St. Vincent de Paul has three more chances this week for people to do so at 2140 S Broadway Ave. in Boise (near the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store):
- Monday, Nov. 15 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Wednesday, Nov 17 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Boxes are available to those with homes of two or more individuals living in Ada County. At registration, people must have a photo ID and document that shows their current address. Boxes are limited to one per home.
Distribution days will be at Expo Idaho at the small animal barn:
- Monday, Nov. 22 from 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 23 from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
For five of those 45 years, McLenna has been volunteering in the program. She has fond memories of each year she's helped distribute the boxes.
"I keep doing this every year because it's such a blessing for me," McLenna said. "People are so thankful when they come through at Expo Idaho, where we distribute the food. We receive 'Thank you' cards, people will hand them out the window to us."
McLenna said it gives her the opportunity to help make an impact on her neighbors within the community who just need a helping hand.
"If it wasn't for St. Vincent de Paul and the Thanksgiving food distribution that we do, they wouldn't have Thanksgiving," McLenna said. "They couldn't afford it otherwise."
Lending a hand to those in need is not just for St. Vincent de Paul and its members and staff, it's for anyone looking to give back. McLenna said it's a family-to-family charity.
"On one hand, a family takes an empty box they get from us and they get a shopping list that they get from us and they go shopping to fill that box," McLenna described. "We are just the handshake between the family who fills it and the family who's going to open it."
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