ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The true meaning of Thanksgiving can be found peering into a paper bag.
Spread out across a gymnasium floor Monday were hundreds of grocery bags — all packed with food.
“This is our 60th year doing this,” said Brian Molohon, the Union Gospel Mission’s vice-president of development.
Every Thanksgiving week since 1958, the St. Paul-based charity has made sure that no Twin Cities family goes hungry. It does that by having an army of volunteers filling paper bags with all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner.
“It’s a $35 bag of food, but it’s that important in the budget scheme and family dynamic that they won’t have a meal without this,” he said.
Volunteers from area churches, schools and businesses serve as the baggers. In assembly line fashion, they stuff each sack with vegetables and dressing mix, potatoes, cranberries, and dessert.
Per Christensson brought several employees from web designer Sharpened Productions to help pitch in.
“They can just come in and walk away with a bag and their family can have a Thanksgiving dinner like so many of us maybe take for granted,” Christensson said.
With the heavy grocery bag in one hand, the other hand will grab a 10-pound frozen turkey.
“It’s such a warm feeling inside of helping other people, it’s just great,” said high school student Karla Garcia.
She spent Monday with classmates from Apple Valley’s district 196 Area Learning Center, volunteering at the site.
“You’re wishing for them to have a good meal and a nice holiday with their family,” she said.
By Thursday, nearly 50,000 meals will nourish needy families across the Twin Cities.
“We get to make a difference every day,” Molohon said, “and there’s nothing better than that.”