Families from seven partner schools had a very special reason to be grateful Thanksgiving week, as an all-out effort from the employees of Performance Auto Mall provided them with a holiday feast. In total, over 300 families in Orange & Durham Counties enjoyed a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving meal because of this partnership.
Low-income families do not necessarily face the holidays with joy and excitement. It is particularly fraught for parents of young children who have certain expectations of what a holiday ‘should’ mean.
Amber Simmons, IFFS Child Hunger Programs Supervisor says “this was truly a blessing. It has been a couple years since we were able to hand out Thanksgiving boxes, so when Performance Auto Mall presented us with this partnership, we were ecstatic!”
Amber adds “reaching out to schools to see if they were interested was the best part of this experience because each social worker was amazed and so appreciative that we would support their families through the Thanksgiving holiday.”
When Amber contacted Neal Middle School Social Worker Jackie Valachovic (Ms. V.), to find out how many boxes they could use, she asked “can we get 100? That would be amazing!” Neal Middle in Durham ended up receiving 100 turkeys, 100 pies, and 120 Thanksgiving boxes for their families. The boxes contained corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, instant stuffing, and brown gravy—all gathered and packed by Performance Auto Mall employees. Ms. V. offered her heartfelt thanks—“all of our families were so grateful, we got lots of tears and hugs. Such blessings!”
“I didn't recognize the true impact of this partnership and event until Thanksgiving Day,” observes Amber. “As I sat in front of a table full of food, a thought came to me that this year over 300 families that struggle with food insecurity, would have a nice spread of food just like I did. That they would not have to think about where their holiday meal would come from, and instead they could focus on celebrating. That's what I was truly thankful for on Thanksgiving.”