Union Hospital distributes Thanksgiving baskets
— Fifteen Gilpin Manor Elementary School students and their families got a little help with their Thanksgiving dinner on Monday.
The families received Thanksgiving baskets as part of Union Hospital’s annual food drive for the school’s Holiday Help Program. Union Hospital employees and Triangle Health Alliance employees both donated food, said JeanMarie Kelly, community benefits coordinator for the hospital.
The baskets had food items such as turkeys, dinner rolls and pies, among other goodies to make a traditional holiday dinner. The baskets even included instructions on how to cook the bird.
The baskets are a result of Union Hospital’s partnership with GMES, through the Business and Education Partnership Advisory Council (BEPAC), Kelly said.
Union Hospital worked with the school’s Family Outreach Worker Megan Bailey and the school counselor Lauren Frederick to coordinate, said Kim Sands, assistant principal at Gilpin Manor, noting the baskets go to families in financial need.
Sands said she hopes the baskets will give families the chance to create memories during the holiday.
“You can’t put a value on what this does for the families,” she said. “Hopefully, it’ll bring families together, so they can laugh and smile and make memories, not worry about where their Thanksgiving meal is coming from.”
Bailey said she and Frederick reached out to families about whether they would like to receive a turkey before the donation period. Last year, 12 baskets were distributed, she added.
Before the parents could pick up the baskets, Kelly and two Union Hospital staff delivered the baskets to the school. After the drop-off, parents picked up the baskets throughout the school day. Outside of those 15 baskets, another 11 were made and will go toward the hospital’s Employee Hardship Fund, Kelly said.
Siena Charlese, who picked up her basket, said the baskets will help families like hers have a Thanksgiving dinner.
“I think they are doing a good job for families in need,” Charlese said. “Even though I work, I’m not rich.”
She said the basket will help her to give to her family a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and she is looking forward to the holiday.
“(It will) give my family a Thanksgiving because I didn’t have the money to,” Charlese said.
Frederick said this is her first year participating and that she was impressed with how many items are included in the baskets. The baskets include everything a family might need for their holiday dinner, she said.
Bailey said this is her second time participating in the event.
“It’s a pretty great experience to see them come in and to receive the baskets,” Bailey said. “You get to see how grateful they are.”
Megan Bailey, family outreach worker with Gilpin Manor Elementary School, Siena Charlese, basket recipient, and Lauren Frederick, the school’s counselor, hold up Charlese’s Thanksgiving Day basket.