Posted by Peter May on Oct 29, 2017


Thanksgiving Day Basket assembly 2012 1

For decades Rotarians, their family and friends have gathered on the Saturday before Thanksgiving to assemble and distribute Thanksgiving food baskets. Families and seniors in need are identified by social service agencies in South Milwaukee, Cudahy, St. Francis, Oak Creek and Franklin. With financial assistance from Meijers, our Rotary Club purchases enough food for each family to enjoy a complete Thanksgiving feast. Baskets are assembled at The Salvation Army and distributed by The Rotary Club of Mitchell Field, The Amigos de Milwaukee Rotary Club, and MATC’s CJSO (Criminal Justice Student Organization).

About 50 people met to assemble and fill cardboard boxes that were arranged on tables set around the perimeter of the room. Unsorted canned goods sat in tall stacks. In the middle of the room bulk potatoes, apples and oranges were counted out and divided into smaller plastic bags. Each “basket” had an inventory page taped to it telling how much food went in each box based on the size of the family served.  After directions by Rotarian Rob, assembly began. The process started with corn, string beans, candied yams and cranberry sauce.  On top of the cans went the bags of potatoes, apples, oranges and celery and dinner rolls. A frozen turkey and stuffing complete the  assembly process. It takes barely an hour but it’s one of the most enjoyable hours we spend during the entire Rotary year. After all boxes are filled, drivers are assigned one or more boxes to deliver.
This email came from one of the people who participated:
Dear Rob,
I wanted to thank the Rotary Club for allowing me to be a small part of the Thanksgiving Basket Program today. The Rotary Club has and always will hold a special place in my heart because of all the good it does and all the wonderful people it has as members.
The heart of Rotary is Truly its members. It is made up of dedicated people that come together to make a difference in their communities and the world. It is made up of people from different professions, male and female, people from different ethnics, cultures and religious beliefs, different age groups that support the idea and believe in, service above self. People working for a common cause to make the world a better place.
In today’s world a person can easily become caught up in the negative news about crime, violence, drugs and politics making it very easy to loose sight of all the good that is done every day by organizations like Rotary.
Rotary does great things in the communities that it serves but also allows its members to establish friendships with other members and people in the communities that it serves. The Rotary Club of Mitchell Field was originally introduced to me by Larry Haskin. When I first became a member I did not know very many members but over time established wonderful friendships. Rotary and its members have certainly influenced my life in so many positive ways and I am very thankful for that.
Today several people from different organizations met at the Salvation Army in Oak Creek. They came together to put together Thanksgiving baskets for families in need of help. It was nice to see members of The Rotary Club that I have known for a long time but it was also nice to see all the people that came together giving of their time to make a difference in someone else’s life. Because of everyone’s efforts there will be families that will be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.
Today I delivered a box of food and a turkey to a family in Oak Creek. I was really taken back by how emotional the lady became when I delivered the food. She broke down and started crying and gave me a big hug and wanted me to know how much it was appreciated. I went back out to my truck and returned with the turkey and she became very emotional again and said a turkey too....oh I cannot believe it, this is so nice. She gave me another hug and started to cry again. She was very emotional and told me that she wanted to thank the Rotary Club for making her Thanksgiving so special. I realized how truly important this was to her and at the same time I also realized how important Organizations like Rotary and its members are to programs like this in their communities.
I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
Jim Gumprecht