Many hands made 95 Thanksgiving baskets fill quickly at the Fenton United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center on Tuesday.
Volunteers from the Fenton High School National Honor Society, Fenton Educational Support Personnel, City of Fenton Fire Department, Fenton United Methodist Church, Loose Senior Center Community Angels and the community helped unload food and other necessities and fill boxes for people in need.
Later in the day, families visited to collect their baskets, which contained a turkey, potatoes, milk, stuffing, fruit and other trimmings for Thanksgiving dinner, as well as other food and necessities for them.
A Fenton Area Public Schools bus drove up to the church, carrying a full load of donated items for the baskets. Transportation Secretary Carla Juarez said it was the best year yet for the Fenton Educational Support Personnel’s Stuff the Bus program, which took place during the last three weeks at VG’s Food Center, the craft show at Fenton High School and other locations.
“This has been the most successful year we’ve ever had,” Juarez said.
Also on the bus were National Honor Society members, ready to help unload the donations and pack the Thanksgiving baskets full inside the church.
Fenton firefighters were already waiting to help get the food from the school bus into the church. Chief Robert Cairnduff said eight firefighters volunteered, and they’ve been helping with the program for a few years. Their firefighters charity group made a $1,000 donation toward the baskets.
“We were going to do it on our own, but we figured it would make sense to help a group that was already organized,” Cairnduff said.
Stan Young, of the Fenton United Methodist Church, said the Thanksgiving basket program is in honor of late social worker, Nancy Stockham (who operated the G.R.A.C.E. program – God Rewards All Caring Endeavors). The baskets are filled at the Fenton United Methodist Church, because of the amount of space and handicap accessibility of the church, Young said.
“Nancy was a kind-hearted person,” he added.
Stockham was outspoken and “said what she thought,” Young said.
“She’d give her clothes off her back to keep someone happy,” Davies said.
Dennis and Mary Colwell, of Fenton, also help coordinate the Thanksgiving basket program. Stockham began the program many years ago, Mary Colwell said.
Susan Allen, a member of Fenton United Methodist Church, said it was her fifth time helping with the baskets.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Allen said. “When the people come to pick up their boxes, it’s really heartwarming to know we’ve made their Thanksgiving a little nicer.”