KoC Thanksgiving boxes

Volunteers put together the Thanksgiving dinner boxes. Submitted photo

200 full Thanksgiving meals provided locally

ST. CLEMENT—A group of about 20 volunteers from St. Clement and other area churches, pitched in last Tuesday to prepare Thanksgiving meal boxes for in need. 

The Rev. Cole Branstetter from the Bowling Green Church of the Nazarene, Fr. Ussher from St. Clement, Jason Davis, agriculture teacher at Bowling Green High School and about 15 members of the Bowling Green FFA were on hand to help pack the boxes full of food.

The students, as well as Branstetter and Ussher, did most of the heavy lifting–carrying the meals out to the cars for the families. Everyone else was either hauling food to the line, or packing it into the boxes coming down the assembly line.

Financially, we had our biggest year yet, said Doug Korte, with the St. Clement Knights of Columbus.

Last year’s monetary intake was $6,561. It was up this year to $9,030 (some of this is committed, but not received yet.) Donations were near where they normally are—still mainly church funded—but there were several new sponsors, as well as a new grant from the Walmart in Hannibal, and a commitment of meals per cars sold in November from Poage Ford in Bowling Green.

On the expense side, Korte noted that food expenses were up quite a bit – last year’s they spent $3,727 on food. This year, the cost was up to $5,921. This increase was because of several factors, Korte explained.

“We added gravy mix, and fresh milk to every box, also the turkeys were huge – similar cost per pound as last year – but they weighed a lot more—huge birds. Some barely fit in the boxes. More food is better than less, so we’re not complaining … but we did spend significantly more on turkeys than previous years.”

Those numbers leave the group with a $3,109 surplus for 2019.

“This year, we’re working with Walmart, to get gift cards, that can be designated for specific foods – such as only turkey, ham, produce, and canned goods. If we can master that, we will use our entire surplus this year to do those gift cards for the Hope Center for Christmas meals this year. If we can’t work that out, we’ll buy Christmas hams, or whatever the Hope Center believes will be best utilized.  One way or another 100 percent of this surplus will be spent on food for the Hope Center.

“I want to thank everyone who donated money, food, or service, such as Mark and Elisha at ReMax, for providing the collection point; the St. Clement Ladies Sodality, for providing coffee and donuts for the event. And a special thanks to everyone who helped the day of the event – especially Branstetter, and the gentleman that came with him to help from Nazarene, as well as Ussher,” Korte said.

“Also, thanks to Kathie and Barb, and everyone at the Hope Center – they make all the contacts, and handle the list from start to finish. They have the most challenging part of the whole project.

“A big thanks to the other members of the St. Clement Knights of Columbus. This core group is there early doing everything it takes to make it work.”

No Hunger Holiday started 29 years ago in Harvester, Mo., at a local church to help a few families. From there it started to grow. It was taken over by the Knights of Columbus to that they could feed as many of the hungry as they could.

“The theory behind the No Hunger Holiday, is that we may not be able to end all hunger, but it is within our paper to ensure that our neighbors are fed on this holiday, in our own community,” Korte said.

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