Viewpoint: Friends in Need plans for holidaysHere at Friends in Need Food Shelf, we are kicking off our Share the Joy program.
By: Kris Richard, South Washington County Bulletin
Here at Friends in Need Food Shelf, we are kicking off our Share the Joy program. This includes our Thanksgiving basket giveaway and our Christmas food and gift giveaway. I thought I would share some details for those who wish to become involved or those who wish to be served by these programs. My sister, Kari Parrish, and I will be running the Share the Joy program and we are very grateful for all of your support.
Thanksgiving baskets: Those who wish to receive Thanksgiving baskets or help for Christmas need to come to the food shelf to sign up for Share the Joy. The interview dates are Thursday, Oct. 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. No appointment is needed, so just show up on one of these dates. You may sign up for Thanksgiving and Christmas at the same interview. No transportation will be available for these interviews, so plan accordingly. Please bring a picture ID and a proof of address (like a bill) and be prepared to list some gift ideas for your children, keeping in mind that they should amount to around $30 per child.
If you wish to donate to the Thanksgiving Basket program, contact your church or call me at (651) 458-3044. There are two ways to help. The easiest way is to donate $40 to help defray the costs of the food baskets. Please send your check to Friends in Need Food Shelf, P.O. Box 6, Cottage Grove, MN 55016. The other way is to purchase the food yourself and assemble your own basket. The local churches have a list of items needed for each basket or you can call the food shelf at (651) 458-0730. We will need to know by Nov. 10 if you plan to donate your own basket. It should be brought to the American Legion Post 98 on Broadway in St. Paul Park between 8 and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22 (use the back door please). Distribution will be from 9 to 10 a.m. that same morning and clients will need to bring in the colored sheet of paper given to them at the sign-up.
Christmas program: Those who have interviewed on the above dates and times will be given a slip of paper to bring in on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to pick up their gifts and food certificates at the Cottage Grove Armory. Please come at the specified time shown on your paper.
Those who wish to adopt a child or family may contact their local church or call me at (651) 458-3044 starting the first week of November. Let us know how many children you want to sponsor (at around $30 per child) and we will match you up with someone. If you are going through your church, we hope to have the children’s names out to the churches by Nov. 16. On Saturday, Dec. 19, please bring your gifts to the Cottage Grove Armory between 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. They should be gift-wrapped and marked with the child’s name and family number. If you have a family, please put all the gifts in a large garbage bag and mark it clearly with their number. Please do not send food as we will be giving out a gift certificate to each family. If you would like to defray the cost of the food certificates, send a check to the food shelf at the above address. All donations are greatly appreciated as this is an expensive time of year for the food shelf.
Other volunteer opportunities: We will need volunteers for both the Thanksgiving Basket program on Nov. 22 from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. at the American Legion Post (back door) and on Dec. 19 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cottage Grove Armory for the Christmas program. We will also need lots of volunteers for the Boy Scout Food Drive to be held on Saturday, Nov. 14. Please come out to the food shelf from 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in comfortable clothes and help out for as many hours as you can. Remember to have any donated items on your doorstep by 9 a.m. that morning. If you do not receive a flyer from the Boy Scouts, please do not leave food outside as you are not in the pick-up area.
Things are moving right along here at the food shelf and we again wish to thank all of you for the incredible support you’ve given us. Because of you, we are able to help over 500 families have a better holiday season.
Kris Richard is Share the Joy coordinator at the Friends in Need Food Shelf.