By Kevin Wilhelm
Middlesex United Way
What are you thankful for this year?
Once again this year, I am thankful to be surrounded by a generous community of people who open their hearts.
I had the honor of participating this year in the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project, a partnership of businesses, nonprofits, civic groups, faith-based groups, schools, municipalities and individuals that come together to assemble and distribute more than 900 Thanksgiving baskets.
The week the baskets are assembled and distributed is one of my favorite weeks of the year — and truly a sight to see. Fellowship Church and Amazing Grace Food Pantry are packed wall-to-wall with Thanksgiving baskets full of stuffing, potatoes, onions, veggies, and pies — all the fixings to make a top-notch feast.
Then, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the baskets all go out to families in Middletown.
It’s truly heartwarming to see the people of Middletown embrace this true community effort to ensure our neighbors can sit down with their families on Thanksgiving and share a meal.
From the Fill-a-Bus events where so many of you generously donated bags upon boxes of canned goods, to the hustle and bustle of nearly 100 volunteers packing baskets on the Monday before Thanksgiving, to the heartfelt thank yous, tears and handshakes from the families picking up their baskets — the spirit of this community is unmatched.
It wouldn’t be possible without so many organizations and individuals who participate. Many of you collected cranberry sauce at your church, and green beans at your workplace. At Stop & Shop and Price Chopper, you filled two buses with more than 2,100 food items during two Fill-a-Bus events.
We met people who went into the store to pick up two or three items for themselves, but returned with three, four even five bags of food for the Thanksgiving Project. Then, last week, the Middletown Police Department held a turkey drive and collected 351 turkeys over two days. Your generosity makes it possible.
There are so many organizations who participated, and we will make an effort to thank you all in the coming weeks.
For now, please let me say, on behalf of the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project, thank you to everyone who contributed.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you.