EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Ahead of Thanksgiving, the Evansville Rescue Mission held their annual “Gobbler Gathering,” an event aimed at helping local families facing food insecurity.
Hundreds of people came to the Old National Events Plaza in the hope that no one goes hungry this Thanksgiving.
“This is a time, a season, when we all need to come together and help each other,” said Evansville Rescue Mission volunteer Sandy Schooler. “That’s what this is all about.”
Organizers say they gave away 2,000 70-pound boxes of food to local families in need. People had the option to fill their box with a range of Thanksgiving staples, like turkey, potatoes, onions, cans of corn or yams, and more.
They say this year was the 102nd time they’ve held the event, and it shows just how many people in the area need help of one kind or another.
“We probably could have given away even more boxes than we’re giving away because the need is so great,” said Evansville Rescue Mission President and CEO Tracy Gorman. “There is a lot of hungry people, a lot of hurting people, a lot of people just needing someone to care about them.”
The event started with a brief prayer service at the beginning of each distribution time. This was held in the same space as a coat giveaway, with tables from local organizations offering additional resources to those in need.
Before filling their food box, each family was paired with a volunteer not only to move through the line with them, but also to get to know them.
“It is a personalized experience, it’s not just they come in here and ‘oh, you’re on your own, just figure it out,’” said Schooler. “No, we want to walk with you. That’s what this is about.”
Volunteers then helped each family take what they got to their car.
Organizers say local businesses, churches, and individuals donated everything they gave away. They say this shows what kind of community this is.
“I have never lived in a place that is so generous, so giving, that wants so much to be there for the people that need the assistance, as Evansville is,” said Gorman.
Those in charge say it takes a lot of work to get something like this off the ground. So much so, in fact, they start preparations for next year’s event the day after this year’s is over.
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