The weekend before Thanksgiving, FishHawk resident Molly Bingham loaded her Publix shopping cart with turkeys. The frozen birds were not for her family’s holiday table but for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Thanksgiving Basket project, now in its 10th year.
Laundry baskets are filled with frozen turkeys, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, pumpkin, marshmallows, stuffing and more then delivered to families in the area that need a little assistance this holiday season.
Bingham, who was the project coordinator, identified those families through school guidance counselors, who contacted the families and asked if they would be willing to accept the baskets.
This year, more than 100 families throughout Hillsborough County received baskets.
Donated food was brought to the church building on Bell Shoals Rd. where volunteers compiled the baskets and delivered them to the homes of those receiving them.
With church members tasked with travelling to Panama City every weekend in November to assist with hurricane cleanup, Bingham said she reached out to members of the community and was overwhelmed by their support.
Kelly Rowjohn and Friends of FishHawk donated 25 complete baskets. The residents of Heron Park villas came together and on a moment’s notice donated food. Bingham said her neighbors were stopping by to make monetary contributions.
“Women were just showing up to help because they saw it on Facebook,” said Bingham. “The community really came together and supported this project.”
Newsome senior Spencer Caceres said delivering the baskets was his favorite part. He and his family delivered five baskets to families in Plant City. At one home, he gave the basket to a grateful father, who then went to his truck and gave him a Twist-Up soda.
Bingham said when she and her family delivered one basket to a family, the children stood on the steps of the trailer and wished her family a happy Thanksgiving.
“Come out next year and join us,” said Bingham.