SARASOTA, FL – On Saturday, November 20, Safe Children Coalition will provide up to 700 full Thanksgiving meals to families in need through a drive-thru event at its main office in north Sarasota. The recipient families – who can sign up for meals through Safe Children Coalition or a partnering agency – are currently being served through Safe Children Coalition programs such as the Achievers, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), Schoolhouse Link, Youth Shelter, and other partnering agencies that serve low-income families.
This will be the 20th year that volunteers have distributed Thanksgiving meals to those in need, thanks to generous community donations – a tradition that began as a community service project for the teens in the Achievers program to give back to the community. Families receive a turkey large enough for a family of eight, vegetables, sides and pie. The meals are provided by Publix, which offers the food at a discounted cost in support of the effort.
Last year, approximately 700 area families enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast thanks to the turkey drive; over the past 20 years, approximately 4,700 Thanksgiving meals have been provided to families in need.
Special thank-yous are in order for Sarasota lawyer and longtime turkey drive sponsor Dan Dannheisser for – as he has for 20 years now – spearheading the fundraising campaign and personally funding numerous meals, and to the Safe Children Coalition Achievers students, who will distribute the dinners to the families in need. Safe Children Coalition is also grateful to Construction Supply of Southwest Florida for providing trucks to transport the turkey dinners.
According to FeedingAmerica.org, more than 42 million people may experience food insecurity this year, including a potential 13 million children. The pandemic has only worsened the hunger crisis for families who were already at risk. Distributing Thanksgiving meals is just one of the ways Safe Children Coalition provides crucial support for families in need.
“This time of year can be devastating for those who can’t afford the beautiful Thanksgiving meal that many of us take for granted,” said Jone Williams, HIPPY and Achievers Director. “We are very thankful for partners like Paderewski and Dannheisser, P.A., Construction Supply of Southwest Florida, and our many generous individual and corporate donors for helping us give back in such a meaningful way.”
The families who will be eligible to receive the Thanksgiving meals are served through programs such as: the Achievers, which empowers at-risk, minority and other disadvantaged students to set and achieve goals in both their educational and personal lives; Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), a home-based early intervention program that helps parents teach children ages 3-5 so they will be poised for success in kindergarten and beyond; Schoolhouse Link, which works to ensure that students who are homeless or in transition are able to enroll, attend and succeed in school; and other SCC programs. Families are also referred to receive meals through various partner agencies.
For more about Safe Children Coalition, visit sccfl.org or call (941) 371-4799.
About Safe Children Coalition, Inc.
Safe Children Coalition, Inc. (SCC) serves as the lead agency for community-based care for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. SCC is a collaboration between local community agencies that provide services to children and families in need. SCC is committed to protecting children, strengthening families, and building community. The core functions provided by SCC include: child welfare case management, foster care, adoption, independent living, prevention, diversion, quality management, and support services as well as other social service programs. Visit sccfl.org or call 941-371-4799.