These are tough times for some families in Carthage, but approximately 130 families got a little boost for Thanksgiving on Thursday, courtesy of the volunteers at the Salvation Army.
Jamie Holder, Carthage, arrived around 9 a.m. and was first in line to receive a food box at the distribution, which started at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
“It's very hard making ends meet,” Holder said. “Grocery prices keep going up, a family pack of hamburger is $2 a pound when it used to be a dollar. When you go out and get gas, you're not getting what you used to get for your money. It's a lot of struggling, especially during the holiday season when you want to have family over, so this is a big help.”
Salvation Army Lt. Julie Trapp and Secretary Bess Wilkes supervised a staff of more than a dozen volunteers who worked Wednesday and Thursday to prepare for this distribution.
On Wednesday they assembled the food boxes in three different sizes for different sized families and boxed them up.
Before 10:30 a.m., a number of volunteers packed about 50 food boxes into cars and delivered them to homebound people who applied for and were approved for Salvation Army help.
Then the volunteers turned their attention to the line of cars, which stretched north on Grand Avenue from the parking lot on the north side of the Salvation Army church.
Trapp and Wilkes said the number of families seeking assistance was down from the more than 190 last year, but it was in line with the years before 2011.
“Last year we had something of a spike,” Trapp said. “This year we're back to where we normally are, around 133 families. I think we figured that's about 360 people we're helping.”
Holder said the Salvation Army basket will help her bring a number of members of her boyfriend's family as well as her and her daughter together for the holiday.
She said she had lost a number of members of her family, her mother last year, and her father a few years before that, who had died and getting together with family for the holidays was a big deal to her.
“My daughter is coming home from the hospital and this is her first Thanksgiving back in a while,” Holder said. “She missed a few Thanksgivings and this box will help me make her feel more at home. My children miss their grandma and grandpa and it's good to be able to get together and give thanks.”
Beverly Perry was also in line for a food box on Thursday.
She said food prices were going up faster than her disability payments, so creating a holiday dinner on that kind of budget was tough.
Page 2 of 2 - “Everything is higher, there are no jobs out there, no one can get a job,” Perry said. “It makes it really hard for people. I notice more and more people out here coming for help. I've been a volunteer here at the Salvation Army, serving meals, and they do a good job helping people. I'm thankful for them; it shows there are still good people out there willing to help.”
The volunteers say they get as much out of helping as the people receiving the food.
“It makes you feel good to help,” said Lee Reid, a volunteer who delivered food to families and individuals who could not come to the Salvation Army office.
“Everyone needs help sometimes,” Reid added. “Who knows we might need this help someday.”