More than 90 Wellington families were able to share a holiday meal this week thanks to the village’s Hometown Holiday Food Drive.
Each family received a reusable bag stuffed with food for a festive Thanksgiving meal — cranberries, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, canned vegetables and cornbread.
“The bags were filled with all of the items for a traditional holiday meal,” Community Projects Manager Kim Henghold told the Town-Crier Tuesday. “They also received a $15 gift card to purchase a turkey or ham from Publix, as well as a pumpkin pie from Whole Foods Market.”
The meals were made possible by generous donations from the community, she said.
“Residents always do a great job to assist at this time of the year,” Henghold said. “They helped tremendously with individual donations. The Wellington Seniors Club also pitched in by asking every member attending their monthly luncheon to bring a canned good.”
Additionally, Publix donated reusable bags, Walgreens donated canned goods and water, Jet Hauling gave a monetary donation to help purchase gift cards, and Whole Foods donated the pumpkin pies.
Henghold said that the bags of food were put together by Wellington’s Interfaith Group, representatives from local houses of worship that work with the village’s Neighborhood Services Office.
“They have been instrumental in organizing and assisting with the donations and distribution for the last several years,” she said.
Eligible families were able to pick up the bags on Saturday, Nov. 17 during a family-friendly event that included face painting, a bounce house and crafts for kids. The kids were able to pay it forward with their crafts, which will help put a smile on others’ faces.
“While the parents picked up their bags, the children were able to make thank-you cards for the men and women serving our country in the military and chain decorations to help decorate the local kids cancer center for the holidays,” Henghold said.
She said that the event is one of the many ways Wellington helps its residents.
“Wellington is committed to helping our residents in any way that we can,” Henghold said. “All of these wonderful partners also make these kinds of programs possible, but we realize that our neighbors and residents are facing tough economic times and may need assistance. We like to provide for our residents, especially at this time of the year. It is important for everyone to have a meal on Thanksgiving, and we realize that and try to help those families in need.”
Now that Thanksgiving has passed, Wellington will begin collecting toys for needy children in Wellington on Monday, Nov. 26.
“Residents will be able to donate a toy at any village location between then and Dec. 20,” Henghold said.
Toys will also be collected from participants of the Jingle Bell Run taking place at Village Park on Sunday, Dec. 16.
For more information about the toy drive, contact Henghold at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOVE: Susan Dain and Matt Wilson help sort the food to be given out.