When you sit at your Thanksgiving tables later this month to celebrate, you’ll likely give thanks for your blessings. But before the holiday arrives, or even on the day, you can participate in one or more giving efforts for those in need. The communities of Parkland, Coral Springs, and the surrounding area offer multiple chances to do a good deed before you enjoy your own Thanksgiving meal.
The City of Coral Springs is holding its 29th annual THANKSforGIVING event, which “relies on community help to donate items for Thanksgiving baskets given to families in need,” according to the city’s website. “Residents and business owners are asked to give to this worthy cause as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.”
The deadline for dropping off non-perishable items is November 3. Food items needed include canned yams, mashed or flaked potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, cookies, canned corn, green beans, canned fruit, cookies, rice, soup/ramen noodles as well as macaroni and cheese. You can drop off donations at the Aquatics Complex – 12441 Royal Palm Blvd.; City Hall – 9551 W. Sample Road; City Hall in the Mall – 9239 W. Atlantic Blvd.; and, the Coral Springs Gymnasium – 2501 Coral Springs Drive.
City staff will place all donated items in baskets, together with a gift certificate for a turkey, ham or main dish. Volunteers at religious institutions will distribute the items to preselected families. For more information, call Mary-Lin at 954-346-1356 or MaRhea at 954-346-1355. The city will also accept monetary donations toward the cause.
Kim Sanecki, volunteer services coordinator for the city, said it “never ceases to amaze me” how generous and involved the community is. “I think it says that we’re so lucky to live and work here, where people want to give back to the community,” she said. “Coral Springs is a great place to live and people want to get involved and give back because of that. Last year, thanks to donations, the city was able to provide 400 food baskets for Coral Springs residents in need,” Sanecki said. She also commended city employees for their willingness to donate. “Our employees are so charitable,” Sanecki said.
Another opportunity to help is through Broward County-based Harvest Drive, Inc. It distributes food items at more than 15 Broward County middle and high schools. While the Harvest Drive takes place year-round, the largest project occurs in November. That is when more than 2,300 families receive a week’s worth of groceries, household items, and other things for an entire Thanksgiving meal and beyond.
Jodi Samson, the Harvest Drive district coordinator and a Broward County School social worker, said each family receives 8 to 10 bags of groceries. Students from more than 180 schools, collect, sort, and pack food items under adult supervision. When families arrive to pick up the groceries, adults volunteer to distribute them.
If any organization wishes to donate food, they should bring it to their nearest distribution site. In the Parkland/Coral Springs, area, the nearest sites are Westglades Middle School, 11000 Holmberg Road in Parkland, JP Taravella High School, 10600 Riverside Drive, and Coconut Creek High School, 1400 NW 44th Ave., Coconut Creek. For information as to when you should donate food items and/or money, contact the schools. The phone number for Westglades Middle School is 754-322-4800, while you can reach JP Taravella High at 754-322-2300 and Coconut Creek High School at 754-322-0350.
“We love our volunteers,” Samson said, adding that part of Harvest Drive’s mission is to teach youngsters to give back to their communities.
“In addition to the business and community donations, children are at the helm of all collections,” according to a Harvest program description. “In addition to helping others, the purpose of the Harvest Drive is to teach children at an early age that their contributions can make a difference in the lives of others.” For more information, visit harvestdriveflorida.com.
Farther north, the 2017 Thanksgiving Box Brigade can use your help. The program is part of Boca Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide food, medical and financial assistance to meet basic human needs. It works like this: People pick up a box from the organization and fill it with the following: (1) 6 oz. Stove Top stuffing mix, (1) 10.5 oz. canned gravy (no glass jars), (1) 1.56 oz. powdered drink mix, (4) 15 oz. canned vegetables, (2) 15 oz. canned fruit or fruit cocktail, (2) 4 oz. instant mashed potatoes mix, (1) 29 oz. canned yams, (1) 14 oz. cranberry sauce, (1) 15 oz. canned pie filling and (1) 9-inch Ready Made Pie Graham Cracker Pie Crust (not refrigerated). Families, who registered in October for a Thanksgiving dinner, will receive a turkey and one of the boxes. Each box will feed a family of four.
If you’re interested in filling boxes, call Suzan Javizian at 561-417-0913 ext. 204 or e-mail her at email@example.com. You must return all boxes by Wednesday, November 1. “We’re very grateful for (volunteers) support, we’re very appreciative,” said Javizian. Those who would rather host a Fall food drive should email her. Javizian said Boca Helping Hands is low on food, largely due to Hurricane Irma. Holding a food drive would “be totally, totally helping us,” she said.
St. Andrew Parish also has volunteer opportunities for its Thanksgiving Day luncheon. The parish serves about 1,800 meals to community residents. “It has become a labor of love for the parish,” said parishioner Alan Nichols, who is president of the Men’s Club. Dinner will be served from 8am to 3pm. For more information about volunteering, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harvest Drive, Inc. drop off sites
WESTGLADES MIDDLE SCHOOL
11000 Holmberg Rd., Parkland 33076
COCONUT CREEK HIGH SCHOOL
1400 NW 44th Ave., Coconut Creek FL 33066
JP TARAVELLA HIGH SCHOOL
10600 Riverside Dr., Coral Springs 33071
MILLENNIUM 6-12 COLLEGIATE ACADEMY
Main Office: 754-322-3900
5803 NW 94th Ave., Tamarac, FL 33321
POMPANO BEACH HIGH SCHOOL
600 NE 13th Ave., Pompano Beach
PLANTATION HIGH SCHOOL
6901 NW 16th St., Plantation 33313
CYPRESS BAY HIGH SCHOOL
18600 Vista Park Blvd., Weston 33332
STRANAHAN HIGH SCHOOL
1800 SW 5th Pl., Ft. Lauderdale 33312
WESTERN HIGH SCHOOL
1200 SW 136th Ave., Davie 33325