JAMES CITY COUNTY — The season of giving started early this year at Grove Christian Outreach Center.
On Monday, Nov. 22, the center distributed 200 “Thanksgiving Bounty Boxes” to community members in need living within the Grove area of James City County. Community members arrived from 10 a.m. to noon to collect their bounty boxes, which consisted of enough food for an entire family to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones.
“It’s a year-long process. We save Thanksgiving food items all year long,” Executive Director of Grove Christian Outreach Center Katie Patrick said in an interview with WYDaily. “We create our Thanksgiving menu at the end of every Thanksgiving season and we then start saving for the next year. Then as we roll into October, we open our registration for our families, because we want to make sure that our families that live in Grove know that they can come here to receive their full Thanksgiving bounty, and that they don’t have to go anywhere else, and that we’re able to relieve that burden for them.”
The Grove Christian Outreach Center’s thanksgiving boxes included stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, the ingredients to make corn casserole, and the ingredients to make green bean casserole. There was also pancake mix and syrup included for a morning breakfast after Thanksgiving. Also included were marshmallows for sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, bacon, butter, cream of mushroom soup, pumpkin pie, and turkey.
“Hunger doesn’t happen just one time out of the year,” said Patrick. “Families that live in Grove are facing food insecurity and financial insecurity all the time. We’re blessed enough to be able to bless our families this way. It’s tremendous and it’s a pretty big thing for us.”
Families also received milk for baking this year, along with a recipe card. Grove Christian Outreach Center put together two of their favorite recipes and families received all the ingredients to make those recipes in their Thanksgiving boxes.
Volunteers helped decorated all the boxes and made sure guests received all their meals this year. The food was collected throughout the year through food drives, purchases from local grocery stores, and from trips to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank.
“It’s a really good feeling. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. There’s the registration process. Organizing what time people come. We don’t want everybody showing up at 8:30 to stay in line. So they get time slots, and they either get door one or door two. Volunteers come to stay and push their carts through. It’s a pretty overwhelming good feeling.”
Grove Christian Outreach Center operates a weekly food pantry that is open to residents in Grove. For more information on Grove Christian Outreach Center and the services it provides, visit its official website.