BUCKHANNON – When people think of Thanksgiving, most picture family and friends coming together to share a beautifully cooked turkey with all the trimmings – stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, hot rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie – while sharing aspects of life for which they’re grateful.
This year, the Upshur Parish House helped make those Thanksgiving holiday memories possible for a record number of people by supplying neighbors with Thanksgiving meal baskets.
Upshur Parish House Director Kristi Wilkerson said volunteers helped to fill Thanksgiving food baskets and distributed those to 691 families – the largest number served, according to past records. Wilkerson said the donations to fill the baskets came from local groups and organizations, individual donations, the Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon and the Bridgeport High School Key Club.
“The Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon is through the Pallottine Missionary Sisters, which began in 1921 with the formation of St. Joseph’s Hospital,” Wilkerson explained. “It is loosely associated but separate from the hospital. They support Upshur County and the surrounding region – including Barbour, Lewis, Randolph, Upshur and Webster counties. They have different categories for what they would like to see happening in the communities.”
Wilkerson said the Upshur Parish House applied for a grant with the Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon and received $10,000 to pay for the meat for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Meal Baskets.
“This was used for the turkeys and the hams for the meal packages,” she said. “We are extremely grateful for their support.”
For the baskets, Wilkerson said the Upshur Parish House ordered 500 turkey breasts and 250 turkeys.
“We also had 50 turkeys donated by an organization in Bridgeport – from the Bridgeport High School Key Club, called the ‘Box it up to Give Thanks.’ They brought us 50 full meals boxed up with everything ready to go, so, we had 800 meals ready to go for Thanksgiving.”
The extra 100 turkeys and turkey breasts will be used for those neighbors receiving Christmas Meal baskets who do not wish to have a ham.
Wilkerson said funds for the Pallottine Foundation of Buckhannon will be used to purchase approximately 450 hams for the Christmas Meal baskets.
She praised the Pallottine Sisters, saying they have done incredible work in the community for years.
“They continue to offer funding for different programs which help neighbors in different ways,” Wilkerson said. “Sometimes it is very creative, innovative approaches to a new community program. I think that is wonderful for an area like Buckhannon to have such a valuable resource right here in our back yard.”
“For the meats, we partner with the Rock Cave IGA and Save-A-Lot,” she said. “They help us order the turkeys and hams that we need. That is a great partnership to have as well.”
Next, Wilkerson said the Upshur Parish House will be working to gather items for Christmas Meal Baskets, which will be distributed Dec. 16-20 during regular business hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 16. The Christmas Meal Basket will include a ham or turkey, yams, corn, white potatoes, stuffing and cake mixes with frosting. She said folks may drop off donations to the Upshur Parish House for the Christmas Meal Baskets.
Additional information is available by calling the Upshur Parish House at 304-472-0743. The Upshur Parish House plans to distribute between 600 and 650 Christmas Meal Baskets in 2019.