The Gig Harbor Thanksgiving Basket Brigade started out 25 years ago with the goal of providing food to families in need at Thanksgiving. The effort has grown from 12 baskets organized and delivered by eight volunteers, to providing 1,580 baskets and feeding more than 7,000 people last year with the help of more than 400 volunteers.
The families served are from all around West Sound and as far as Federal Way and Seattle. The Thanksgiving Basket Brigade also serves military families from the local bases. Each family receives a gift basket that includes a turkey, plus a box with about a week’s worth of food.
“This all happens with the help of many people in the community that donate their time and money,” says Cathers, who founded and coordinates the program.
Local high school students, Rotary Clubs and businesses help with the effort of gathering food and donations, while younger kids from Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Club, YMCA and elementary schools help decorate boxes with personal messages.
“We take the box to the door, ring the bell and run. It’s mom-and-dad-approved ‘doorbell ditch.’ That way the people don’t have to worry about pride issues,” he says.
Why it’s Important
Because it makes people smile. It brings everyone together to help others. It is also important because each one of us never knows when we may have the need, and when we do, there is someone there to help.
It’s a challenge to make sure we collect enough food and funds to buy food to make it happen. Each year, the number of people receiving baskets grows.
The best part of doing this is seeing it come full circle many times over. We have many, many people helping each year because they have received a basket and want to now give back. Many others come to give to others and bring their kids and friends to share in the fun and gift of giving.