For many families, Thanksgiving isn’t a time of food, sharing and talking about what each loved one is thankful for.
More than a few homes don’t get the Turkey Day celebration others are so fortunate to enjoy. However, No Hunger Holiday’s goal is to alleviate the pains of an empty stomach and bring these families together.
“I can’t imagine not having that for a family,” Tony Vacek, a member of No Hunger Holiday’s Warrington branch said about Thanksgiving dinner.
No Hunger Holiday’s story began 24 years ago, when Frank Conard, who served as a Family Court Judge in St. Charles, founded the organization. According to director John Callahan and Doug Helfrich, two of the directors for No Hunger Holiday, Conard was on the board with the Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service when he saw a need in the community.
“He was in there a week or two before (Thanksgiving), and and there was a sign up that said ‘no food pickup next week, happy Thanksgiving,'” Helfrich said. “That dichotomy just kind of struck him. What holiday is more involved with food than Thanksgiving? So here are people who obviously are in need of food, and we’re not going to give it to them on the most food-orientated day of the year.”
“He got a list of the families and he went out and purchased all the fixings for a family dinner,” Callahan said. “His goal was rather than have the families go to a shelter or a soup kitchen or a facility of that size, that Thanksgiving should be the start of the holiday season in which you want the family members to bond together, so why not provide them a box of menu items and let them fix it in their own home, and let them provide for their own families. The idea took off from there.”
No Hunger Holiday provides families with a frozen turkey, as well as all the other trimmings and ingredients that make a complete Thanksgiving meal. This year, the organization – working with local charities – estimates it will bring over 2,000 turkey dinners to local families. But donations are still needed.
Turkeys can be dropped off for No Hunger Holiday at the William Pezold Knights of Columbus Hall 5701 at Hwy. N in Cottleville. The drop-off period – Thursday, Nov. 20 to Monday, Nov. 24 – runs from 4-7 p.m.on week days and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on weekends. For more information, visit nohungerholiday.com.