Children’s Aid Society gives out baskets in time for Thanksgiving
250 full meals handed out to families in need
For many people Thanksgiving Day is about partaking in a decadent feast with family surrounding them, but many families in need cannot afford such a luxury. The Charles County Children’s Aid Society took it upon itself to give free Thanksgiving baskets to those families experiencing hard times, so that they can create a spectacular holiday
Throughout the morning on Tuesday, the Children’s Aid Society distributed hundreds of Thanksgiving baskets at the Huntington Community Center. Each basket included every part of a Thanksgiving meal ranging from the turkey to the dessert, including potatoes, onions, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, breads, desserts, a turkey and a foil pan with directions for how to cook the turkey.
Danielle Wilmoth, executive director of the Children’s Aid Society, said the organization distributes 250 Thanksgiving baskets to families living in Waldorf or White Plains with children younger than 18.
“People were lined up before we got here,” Wilmoth said. “This is my fifth year doing Thanksgiving baskets and it’s awesome to know that no one is going without food this Thanksgiving. For some of the people you can just tell that a weight is lifted off of them because they don’t have to worry about where their meal that day is going to come from anymore.”
Waldorf resident Cher- rie McClellan said she is very grateful for what the Children’s Aid Society has done for her family..
“I woke up this morning happy,” McClellan said. “This year has been pret- ty hard for me as far as jobs and being in and out of work. I have a big fami- ly and I have a mom that I take care of so I really real- ly needed the help. I have a daughter with autism so this has helped me a lot. I’m ver y thrilled.”
Pamela Vahle, chair- woman of the Children’s Aid Society board of di- rectors, said the annual Thanksgiving basket dis- tribution has been around for 14 years because there are people in the county who need the help. Vahle said the organization received many donations to help make the event pos- sible including a $2,000 local grant and truck full of turkeys from New Life Church in La Plata.
“People can’t afford the food,” Vahle said. “They are struggling and losing their jobs and trying to raise their kids on their own so we try to make life easier for families with children. There’s a lot of families who wonder where they are going to get their next dollar or how they are going to put food on the table because of their current situation but we want to make sure the kids don’t have that stress when they sit down for Thanksgiving dinner.”
Genevie Plumbing, the Charles County Young Professionals of the Charles County Cham- ber of Commerce and The Welburn Organiza- tion-McDonald’s helped pass out baskets, bags and turkeys to the fami- lies.
Parris Stedman, market- ing manager at The Wel- burn Organization-Mc- Donald’s, brought eight managers and the owner of the company, Andrew Welburn, to help the Children’s Aid Society by handing out onions, tur- keys and potatoes at 8:15 a.m. She said the compa- ny is very invested in giv- ing back and are motivated by the smiles they are putting on people’s faces.
“A lot of the time our cus- tomers coming through the line at McDonald’s for food on Thanksgiving Day and some only have $5 to spend,” Stedman said. “It’s heartbreaking to me that families are not able to provide that for their children and live the tradition. We do real- ize how fortunate we are to have a full meal so we wanted to give back to families that do not have the privilege of having a full Thanksgiving. It was so great to actually give the food to the families and see their appreciation for the help.”
The Children’s Aid Soci- ety has many volunteers in place who give their time yearly for such a cause.
“Some of the people that I see come through here, that are struggling, are my customers at Food Lion and so it makes it even more personal for me because I see these people on a daily basis and I didn’t know that they need an extra helping hand,” said Barbara Bean, Food Lion customer service manager in Waldorf. “We know it’s happening right here in our community so it just makes me feel good as a person to know people in the world care enough to do this.”
Waldorf resident Anne Groves said that because God has blessed her she is able to give back to the less fortunate. She said the Children’s Aid Society presents more than one opportunity to allow others to give back and the world would be a lot better if more people lent a helping hand to those who might be struggling.
Paul Genevie, owner of Genevie Plumbing, helps hand out turkeys at Huntington Community Center on Nov. 22.
Waldorf resident Anne Groves and Barbara Bean, Food Lion customer service manager in Waldorf, assisted with filling up a cart of onions to be given away to families in need at Huntington Community Center.
Members of the Charles County Young Professionals, Accokeek resident Will Vickers, Waldorf residents Christian Downs, Malik Pickeral and Brian Seeling Jr., volunteer distributing food Tuesday at the Children’s Aid Society at Huntington Community Center.