Published On: Fri, Dec 4th, 2015

Schools, Charity, Volunteers Deliver Some Kindness, a Warm Meal on Thanksgiving

BRT Thanksgiving Dec 4 (1)Boca Raton, FL – On a day when families across Boca Raton gathered together to give thanks for the blessings of the past year, hundreds of volunteers also gave of themselves at the largest Thanksgiving dinner in town.

An army of volunteers spent the day at Boca Helping Hands making sure people didn’t go hungry over the holiday.

“People want to do good,” James  S. Gavrilos, executive director, Boca Helping Hands, said in an email. “And there is such a strong appeal to reach out on a day like Thanksgiving. In fact, we had both shifts filled by early August! Before we had even hit September, we had more people requesting to volunteer than we had volunteer slots!  We had whole families coming in to volunteer.”

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, volunteers assembled at the organization’s headquarters at 1500 N.W. 1st Court to unload, organize and distribute meals for people in need.

They continued their efforts until Thanksgiving Day when they served a hot meal from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Later that day, volunteers also delivered meals to about 400 pre-registered families at the organization’s West Boca Pantry site, Gavrilos said.

For the past eight years, the nonprofit organization has opened its doors to the community to provide a traditional meal of turkey and all the trimmings.

This year, more than 1,800 people signed up to receive a box of food and a frozen turkey, according to the organization’s website. That’s a 20 percent jump over last year, organizers said.

“Thank you to everyone who made it possible for those in need to have a very Happy Thanksgiving,” read a message on the site.

Organizers said they bought the turkeys thanks to a generous contribution from an anonymous donor.

They also collected donations through the Boca Helping Hands’ 2015 Thanksgiving Box Brigade where our donors were asked to provide 2,000 turkeys and fill boxes or baskets with a laundry list of non-perishable items.

Several community organizations, schools and business pitched in.

Students from Olympic Heights High School packed enough boxes of food to feed more than 350 families, according to a release from the school.

For the past decade, the students and families have contributed canned food toward the Thanksgiving Box Brigade, school officials said. The effort started with the school’s National Honor Society, grew to include the Olympians Advanced Placement Academy, and last year expanded to the entire school. This year, though, is the largest.

School officials said opportunities like these teach their pupils the importance of serving their community.

And organizers are most thankful for the volunteers who gave of their treasure, talent and time.

“Throughout the week, we had employees from Home Depot, members of the Junior League, football players from Saint John Paul II High School, and the Kabala Center of Boca Raton working hard preparing and serving,” Gavrilos said. “And the team who was there on Thanksgiving Day was simply incredible.”

By: CRA News Service

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