Families struggling to put food on the table this year are thankful for the work of Beech Grove-based Servant’s Heart of Indy. Turkey and all the Thanksgiving fixings have been given to close to 300 families in what Servant’s Heart founder Bill Boone calls, The World Famous Turkey Drive-Thru.
Seventy-five people assembled the food boxes on the Saturday morning before Thanksgiving at Boone’s home church. Whole families, Boy Scouts and individual volunteers rapidly filled the 300 boxes in less than an hour at Grace Evangelical Church on Southport Road. Now in their sixth year, Boone and his team have an effective system in place.
The “World-Famous Turkey Drive-Thru” begins on the Tuesday night before the holiday. Cars full of expectant families line up and drive through the parking lot of the Servant’s Heart office just off Hornet Avenue. Each family presents their confirmation postcard and then receives a box of canned goods and a bag of frozen items. Based on the size of the family, an alphabet letter on the post card lets the volunteers know which size box to give. Letter A indicates one or two people, “B” for three to four, and so on.
Servant’s Heart of Indy runs a food and clothing center in Beech Grove. Families qualify based on need and their mailing zip code. Once a year, Boone, his visionary board and a raft of volunteers offer two ways to feed hungry families for Thanksgiving.
FIRST: Ingredients for cooking their own Thanksgiving meal are made available to those who would otherwise face a bleak day. Last year 244 families went through the Turkey Drive-Thru. Almost 300 signed up for help this year.
SECOND: Volunteers deliver individually prepared, hot meals on Thanksgiving Day at noon. The helpers gather at South Emerson Church of God at 11 a.m. to pick up the meals and addresses. This year, the number registered for meals is close to 50, nearly double the number last year.
Boone says nearly 1,300 people will benefit from the generosity of volunteers and donors. Boone always includes a note card titled “Thanksgiving Blessings” inside each box explaining why all this matters to him and his board.
As this Thanksgiving holiday comes this year, many of you are struggling. Just as the times long ago when the Pilgrims came to this country to start their new life, times were very difficult for them too. Yet through perilous times they gathered with their families and friends to give thanks to God for the harvest.
… [W]hen you sit down around the table, just take a moment to count your blessings and thank God for what He has provided. You are seated at a banquet prepared by someone who loves you.
God loves you too.”
Servant’s Heart of Indy is gearing up now to provide toys and clothing for more than 600 children this Christmas, too. The annual White Elephant Auction and spaghetti dinner fundraiser will be Sunday, Dec. 7, at Beech Grove’s Hornet Park Community Center, 5245 Hornet Ave. The bidding process during the auction provides lively entertainment. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun.
The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m., with dinner at 5, and, as Boone says, “the wild and crazy auction” from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Everyone brings a wrapped White Elephant present — an item they no longer want at home. As the charismatic auctioneer, Boone’s excitement seems contagious, because more than once people have frantically bid on the very present they brought. Glitz sells.
The funds from the auction and dinner along with contributions from families or churches that sponsor needy families will completely transform Christmas. Last year, Boone was contacted very late to help a family with several children, one of whom was terminally ill.
But Servant’s Heart had already delivered all their gifts and was out of cash. A gift card had been pressed into Boone’s hand at the last minute. He had no idea how much it was worth. The $300 surprise total allowed them to buy gifts for a special and memorable Christmas for one little boy and his family.
Boone and his group seem to carry the spirit of giving with thanks all year. To be part of this year’s Servant’s Heart “team,” call Bill Boone directly at 501-0281.
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