SARASOTA, FL – On November 19, Safe Children Coalition’s (SCC) Achievers program provided nearly 500 full Thanksgiving meals to families in need through a drive-thru event at its main office in north Sarasota. Eligible recipient families were those currently being served through SCC programs such as Achievers, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), Schoolhouse Link, and the Youth Shelter as well as other partnering agencies that serve low-income families.
This was the 21st year that SCC has 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. Families received a turkey large enough for a family of eight, vegetables, sides and pie. The meals were provided by Publix, which offers the food at a discounted cost in support of the effort.
Over the past 21 years, approximately 6,000 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 each and every year – spearheading the fundraising campaign and personally funding numerous meals; the Safe Children Coalition Achievers students who organized the effort and distributed the food; and Construction Supply of Southwest Florida for providing trucks to transport the turkey dinners.
Overseeing the effort was Achievers program manager Jone Williams. This year marks the 30th that Williams has served the community. She has seen two generations of community members grow up through her work with low-income families and at-risk children.
“The community has contributed to this effort each and every year and the community making a difference for 500 area families is just amazing,” said Dannheisser. “This began as a community service project to enable the youths to be involved in making a difference in the community. It’s gone from feeding 12 families with 10 kids volunteering to feeding hundreds of families. The kids do it all and they do an amazing job!”
According to the USDA, more than 34 million people – including 9 million children – in the U.S. are food insecure. The pandemic, surging costs of living and the recent storms have 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.
For more about Safe Children Coalition, visit sccfl.org.
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 who 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. Visit sccfl.org or call 941-371-4799.