This Thanksgiving, while we enjoyed our families and Thanksgiving meals, many in the Keys and even in our own neighborhood weren’t as fortunate. Post-Hurricane Irma, many families are still dealing with total destruction of their homes and lives.
Armed with baskets filled with Thanksgiving supplies and turkeys from both Christ Fellowship and The Thanksgiving Baskets Fund, along with school supplies from Coral Reef Elementary PTA, we drove down to Sugarloaf School to ensure that all staff members at the school received a dinner. Sadly, at Sugarloaf School, about half of the staff lost everything to Hurricane Irma.
I got involved after the storm because I was collecting school supplies for local schools and thought it might be helpful to the children in that area. Many have lost everything. When I spoke with principal Harry Russell, he said that his teachers were doing so much for the community that he would love to have something done for them.
Fortunately, with the help of our community, we partnered with Christ Fellowship and The Thanksgiving Baskets Fund, and were able to do just that.
The Thanksgiving Baskets Fund, founded by Palmetto Bay residents Gerald and Maya Greenberg, is celebrating its 33rd year of operation this year. What started as a small operation by the Stieglitz family now feeds over 650 families each year.
“Preparing baskets of food for Thanksgiving is a simple act, but it allows our volunteers to make a big difference in a family’s life, at least for one day a year,” Gerald Greenberg told us. “Hopefully these baskets send a message to their recipients that even when times are tough, there are people on the community who care about them and want to help.”
But for the Greenbergs, The Thanksgiving Basket Fund serves other purposes than just feeding families.
“Maya and I believe that projects like this one instill in young people a sense that simple acts of kindness and charity can mean a lot to people in need,” Greenberg said. “I first participated in this program as a teenager, and it means so much to see my own children now doing it, working with not only their parents, but their grandparents as well. This is truly a multigenerational project.”
Christ Fellowship also played a large role in this project, boxing the turkeys for distribution and providing 30 turkeys and fixings for delivery to the Keys and locally. They have partnered with the Village Councilmembers for many years.
Former Councilmember Patrick Fiore and I worked together to make local deliveries of baskets to families in need in Palmetto Bay.