DEBARY | St. Ann Catholic Parish in DeBary and Emmaus Lutheran Church joined together to support the Volusia County Thanksgiving Basket Brigade. St. Ann collected more than 100 baskets containing the essentials for a Thanksgiving meal and Emmaus Lutheran completed the baskets by providing gift cards to purchase a turkey or ham.
This is the first year St. Ann participated in the event. Gabrielle Golka, director of Social Ministries and Family Life, learned about it last year and thought “what a great community effort for us to support.” For a decade St. Ann held a Thanksgiving store in partnership with Emmaus Lutheran.
“I thought an achievable goal for our first time would be 100 baskets – we reached our goal and then some,” Golka said.
Amy Hall and her family have run Volusia’s Basket Brigade for roughly 10 years and the event is twice that age. Hall’s team discussed canceling this year due to COVID-19, but decided, “Now, more than ever, our community needed a hand up and we really wanted to come together.”
The mom and graduate of Sacred Heart Catholic School in New Smyrna Beach said her family wanted “to give back.” She and her husband, Jason, see themselves as conductors in an orchestra. “You can be up there waving a stick, but it really takes the instruments — our community of businesses and organizations and members to make the music.”
She said, “Realizing that this is something greater than what we are as a family and that we can help someone else,” motivates her and her family to continue leading the effort.”
Families are nominated or can register online. This year’s goal is 3,000 baskets.
“On Thanksgiving Day, we all celebrate our gratitude to God,” said Father Andrzej Jurkiewicz, parochial administrator of St. Ann. “On that day, the Gospel reading shows to us the healing of 10 lepers, but from this number only one comes back and shows his gratitude to Jesus. With this in mind, we are all children of God and we all must give thanks to God and remember others.” The baskets will be distributed Nov. 21.