Rotary of St. Charles’ surprise Thanksgiving baskets give hope

55 baskets given to needy families

When the basket of food arrived, Trinika King was stunned and grateful over the timing of the gift.

A mother of seven living in an apartment in Luling, King genuinely said of the basket, “It will help me with making Thanksgiving possible.”

The basket was one of 55 the Rotary Club of St. Charles delivered to families last Wednesday in St. Charles Parish. Earlier in the day, District Judge Lauren Lemmon, who chaired the Rotary’s Thanksgiving Basket effort this year, mobilized about 100 fellow Rotarians at Zydeco’s restaurant in Boutte into the crew who sorted hundreds of pounds of food into containers or baskets for the area’s needy.

“It’s very rewarding for everybody,” Lemmon said, recalling delivering a basket to a house that didn’t have a door or windows. “I didn’t know this existed in our parish. Rotary is all about serving.”

Tables were covered in heaping piles of food, which Majoria’s Supermarket helped pull together for delivery.

Calling it a “feel good, do good event,” Lemmon set the members in motion toward loading baskets with a thoughtfully chosen assortment of foods, including dried beans, canned yams, cranberries and cake mixes along with staples like flour, sugar and rice, as well as fresh fruit and onions intended to provide a Thanksgiving meal, but also for meals through the holiday season.

Each basket also included a turkey donated mostly by the Rotary members and Winn-Dixie while Wal-Mart donated the containers.

The families were chosen based on nominations submitted from area schools.

“All of these donations wouldn’t have made it to the tables of the families here in St. Charles Parish if it were not for the just under 100 Rotarians that helped sort, bag and deliver the food right to the doorstep of those in need,” said Rotary spokesman Quinn Landry. “It is a powerful demonstration of the great things that can be accomplished when people come together for the benefit of their communities. It shows that people who care really can make a difference.”

King was stunned when Rotary members Landry and Melissa Frederick delivered her basket. She’d just been talking to a friend who got one and then she got the call that one was coming her way.

It’s been a difficult year for King.

As her youngster grabbed a Satsuma from the basket and clearly relished the orange, she explained that she’d been working her way into management at Burger King when she learned she needed a high school degree to complete the move. She tried to continue working while also pursuing her GED, but had difficulty getting a babysitter so she felt there was no choice but to quit the job and focus on getting the GED so she could return to her job where she’s been assured she could still go into management.

In the meantime, King said she’s staying focused on just being “satisfied and happy,” as well as planning a Thanksgiving table for her family that could now include turkey, baked chicken, red beans, potato salad, sweet peas and cake or even a sweet potato pie.

At Linda Thomas’ house, also in Luling, her health issues have left her struggling to make ends meet. She couldn’t continue to work as a substitute teacher with parish schools.

Until she received the Rotary basket, Thomas didn’t think she could manage providing a Thanksgiving meal for her family.

“Everything is fine other than that,” she said. “I’m taking care of things.”

At neighboring Dionca Hills, house, she also welcomed the basket.

“I love it,” Hills said. “I appreciate it.”She said the food will definitely help with having five kids and her being a single parent.

Stuffing with seafood is her top planned dish for Thanksgiving, but Hills mused that it was her secret recipe.King, who is dealing with challenging times economically for her and her seven children, said the basket meant far more to her than just a meal.

She added, “Me receiving this is God telling me it’s going to be okay.”

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