LINCOLN — It was mission accomplished at the Senior Center on Wednesday as the town's Thanksgiving Basket Drive wrapped up with the final baskets going out to local families.
Dave Sale, town facilities manager, reported that a total of 325 baskets were delivered to families in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, about 75 more than were prepared last year.
"It was the bad economy, absolutely, no question about it," Sale said.
The Senior Center staff prepared the list of families needing assistance and many were referred to the program by family and friends. Some families reported difficulty in meeting expenses such as heating and housing costs due to the loss of a job and the inability to find a new one, according to Sale. The food baskets are intended to give families a break from their economic struggles and allow them to focus on meeting other expenses, Sale noted.
The number of families falling into difficult times is becoming alarming, he said.
"This year the phones never stopped ringing, right up today," he said.
The drive was assisted by a wide-ranging group of volunteers that included students and faculty at the high school, local church groups, local businesses, and town employees and volunteers. The drive began with the collection of non-perishable items at several town locations and culminated with the high school's spirit week activities and food collections. After the canned goods and other items were sorted, the volunteers used donated funding to purchase any of the items needed to complete the baskets, such as loaves of bread and other perishables. Each basket included a turkey, 10 pounds of potatoes and Thanksgiving staples such as squash, carrots, cranberry sauce and a pie.
Members of the Lincoln High School Student Council worked a distribution detail at the high school on Tuesday where many families went to pick up their baskets.
Also helping out this year were Terrie and Robin Farel, George Hadley, Sharon Barr, Joe and Sue Cerra, Richard DiMase, and Maryann McChomisky, a counselor at the high school.
Sale and his volunteers also made deliveries to elderly shut-ins and prepared a final round of baskets at the Senior Center Wednesday afternoon. The volunteers are not quite done for the year, Sale noted. Beginning Monday, the group will start work on preparing another round of baskets for the Christmas holiday, which will include toys and gifts for children in addition to a wider range of foods.