HomeWindsor Hights HeraldWindsor NewsThanksgiving basket drive helps families enjoy the holiday

Thanksgiving basket drive helps families enjoy the holiday

There are few things more satisfying for families than to sit down at the table and watch while the master carver – whether it’s dad, mom or someone else – takes apart the Thanksgiving turkey.

But for many families, it’s just a dream – unless someone steps forward to pack a basket or a box with all the Thanksgiving trimmings for a Thanksgiving Day dinner.

That’s why Rise is sponsoring a Thanksgiving basket drive, as it has done for many years, said Leslie Koppel, the executive director of the nonprofit social service agency that helps families and individuals in the Hightstown and East Windsor area.

“The Thanksgiving holiday is a special and unique American tradition to bring families together. These baskets are to give a family a complete Thanksgiving meal, including the turkey,” Koppel said.

The need for Thanksgiving baskets – and food in general – has been growing, Koppel said. Rise distributed 439 baskets in 2019 and 540 baskets in 2020. This year, the goal is to fill and distribute 1,200 baskets.

Rise is planning to distribute Thanksgiving baskets on Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rise food pantry at 133 Broad St. in Hightstown.

A drive-thru Thanksgiving basket distribution is planned for Nov. 20, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., at the Modway warehouse at 329 Wyckoff Mills Road in East Windsor in cooperation with the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. The rain date for the drive-thru event is Nov. 21, same time, same place.

But Rise can’t fill those baskets without help from the community, Koppel said. That’s why Rise is asking donors to drop off stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, yams, onions, squash and carrots, as well as gravy and cranberry sauce, she said. Rice, corn muffin mix, Jell-o or pudding mix, pasta, cereal or oatmeal, pasta sauce, canned fish, and dry or canned beans are also needed. Canned soup, chicken or turkey broth, nuts and canned or dried fruit also can be dropped off, Koppel said.

What about the turkey, which is the highlight of the holiday meal?

Rise is asking donors for gift cards so the staff can buy turkeys, Koppel said. Turkeys are hard to store in quantity, so it’s more practical to buy them as they are needed, she said.

The donations can be dropped off at the Rise Thrift Store at 114 Rogers Ave. in Hightstown every Monday through Wednesday, from 9 a.m. and noon. They can also be dropped off Nov. 3 and Nov. 17, from 5-7 p.m.

“We prefer to have all donations in by Nov. 19,” Koppel said.

If donors would prefer to make a financial contribution, that is also an option, she said. Gift cards or checks can be mailed to Rise, P.O. Box 88, Hightstown 08520.

Online donations can be made by visiting https://njrise.org/thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving is special because we take a moment to give gratitude. I am grateful for our wonderful neighbors and friends who enable us to serve hundreds of families who turn to Rise when they need help,” Koppel said.

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