Thanksgiving came early for scores of less fortunate Eddy County residents thanks to nonprofit groups, businesses and volunteers.
Terri Judah of Carlsbad’s Operation Hope said volunteer help was the backbone of her organization’s food drive.
“The people in the community you meet and their willingness to give and help others is incredible plus the amazing groups that come, and volunteer touch my heart,” she said.
More:Carlsbad Mayor: Community groups provide food relief during COVID-19 closures
This year marks the 20th year for Operation Hope’s Thanksgiving Food Drive, Judah said and this year over 350 Carlsbad area residents received food baskets.
“We don’t cook any food. All Carlsbad schools are collecting food donations. We also had various community young groups collect food at La Tienda (Thriftway) last weekend,” she said.
Judah said non-perishable food items were placed in food baskets and monetary donations from the community were used to purchase turkeys, pies, rolls potatoes, gravy and other items for the food baskets.
She said the Thanksgiving Food Drive was a true community effort.
“Businesses make monetary donations and many also collect food at their place of business which also gives their employees and patrons an opportunity to participate. Various local youth groups collect food at the grocery stores,” Judah said.
More:As holidays approach comfort recipes by Yearwood are sure to please
She said employees of XTO Energy collected food donations from schools and businesses on Nov. 19 and baskets were assembled the same day at the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad.
Judah said volunteers were scheduled to distribute food baskets for drive-thru pickup on Nov. 20. Other baskets were delivered to other families in the Carlsbad area.
Eddy County United Way looks ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas
Executive Director Maria Cole said United Way teamed up with Jonah’s House Food Pantry and provided meals for 125 families. A partnership with Oasis Church’s Abundant Harvest Food Pantry sought to feed 100 families in the Carlsbad.
“Seems like everybody’s just been coming in and things have just been happening for United Way,” she said.
Cole, who assumed the role of Executive Director in late September, said helping Eddy County citizens during the holidays was her top priority.
“Just because I want to make sure the needs are met,” she said.
“I truly value relationships. In building, mending, you name it. I really want to continue the foundation that has been laid before and just continue building from there and expanding.”
More:Carlsbad non-profits ‘step up’ during COVID-19, spend millions to support community
Artesia area families receive early Thanksgiving meals
The Thursday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 18, nearly 80 northern Eddy County families received a meal from Packs of Love, a nonprofit organization fighting childhood hunger in the Artesia area.
Director Su’Ann Greenwood and volunteers Crystal Kitchen, Kathy Taylor, Riann Holder and Amanda Martin filled gift bags with non-perishable food items at Artesia’s First Baptist Church for a drive-thru food drive.
“I love it,” Greenwood said. “It has my heart just a little bit of help on the weekends is how I describe it.”
Holder said Packs of Love met a need for Artesia area children and their families.
“I’m super glad we can do this for them. There’s no judgement here,” she said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.