Operation Thanksgiving/Christmas, which was founded in 1988, is a non-profit, completely independent volunteer organization whose goal is to provide the "fixins" for a complete holiday meal to eligible families that sign up. (A screening process helps to assure that only qualified families are served.)Last year, the organization provided over 416 full meal baskets for families with 2-13 members at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The meals included a turkey, side dishes, bread, margarine and dessert. Churches and schools donate most of the nonperishable food items included in the baskets, and the remaining items are purchased locally with money donated by individuals and organizations.
At this time of the year, participating organizations are asked to donate the specific food items needed for the baskets and individual meals. These items are dropped off at the Food Cupboard where, just before each holiday, volunteers sort and count everything prior to packing the baskets for distribution.
Support comes from a coalition of local Protestant and Roman Catholic churches; the Children's, Youth and Women's Alliance (CYWA); the Salvation Army; the Coatesville Area School District; the Rotary and Lions service clubs and the Coatesville Emergency Food Cupboard.
In addition to the food baskets the Rotary and Lions clubs help deliver pre-cooked meals to approximately 160 individuals, including many senior citizens and shut-ins in local apartments. These meals are prepared with the assistance of Olivet United Methodist Church.
In addition to the meals, at Christmas eligible families with children under 12 years of age may sign up for new pajamas which are provided by the Salvation Army, and new toys which are provided by the CYWA. Support for these items also comes from donations.
For more information or to make a donation, call the organization's chairman, Wilbur "Bud" Adams, at 610-384-9196, or the organization's secretary, Karen White, 610-383-6354.