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The Volunteers and Helping Hands Club in Sun City Carolina Lakes began collecting for its annual Thanksgiving food drive before November even began.
With so many Indian Land families in need this year, the club and residents of the Sun City community wanted to be sure their neighbors have plenty of food to eat for the Thanksgiving holiday and beyond.
Donations this year exceeded expectations. Club members were both overwhelmed and delighted as they gathered to arrange and sort the food that had been collected in the last few weeks.
The items collected will not only make Thanksgiving Day brighter for the recipients, but, the club asked residents to contribute foods that will stretch far beyond Thanksgiving Day. In addition to the considerable amount of food, contributions included cash as well as gift cards. The club hopes the contributions will help these families get through difficult times.
“Our very first drive was in November 2007. Since it was our first year, we had just 25 families,” said Rose Good, vice president of the Volunteers organization. “Each year, the number of families has grown and now we are serving 30 to 35 families.”
Terre Sauer took the lead with this year’s drive, along with Jo Ann Aiello and Carol Kiernan.
“We received generous donations from our local food stores this year. Our local Harris Teeter donated 10 $25 gift cards, plus our new Publix, as well as Food Lion, also donated gift cards to help these families," Sauer said. "Additionally, our Sun City Fresh Produce Club made a very generous donation.”
The families are chosen by Indian Land Elementary School counselors Carrie Smith and Jennifer Darcy after soliciting help requests from the general population of the Indian Land schools. The counselors then find out how many families Sun City Carolina Lakes can accommodate. If needed, the counselors will reach out to other organizations in the area for help as well to meet the needs.
“We did our distribution at the senior center at the request of the school, in order for the families to remain anonymous to their peers," Good said of earlier drives. "Since that time, we have remained at the center for these same reasons.”
The Volunteers load several vehicles with the donated food and transport the donations to the Indian Land Recreation Center, where they meet the families and distribute the food.
“We have had some families in our Sun City Community donate turkeys from local grocery markets. Folks also donated gift cards and cash for gift cards to ensure that the families have money to purchase a ham or turkey, plus any missing items for their dinners,” Good said.
Good has helped with the Thanksgiving food drive since its beginning and met the families as they have picked up their food.
“They are very deserving and appreciative,” she said.