By Kristin Bednarski
Several Clermont County organizations helped improve Thanksgiving for families in need during the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive at Clermont County 4-H Hall Nov. 16.
The Clermont County Extension Office, 4-H clubs, 4-H CARTEENS, Clermont County Farm Bureau, the YWCA Eastern Area, and the River Valley Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation partnered to give away 300 complete Thanksgiving meals.
The River Valley Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation provided 300 turkeys for the food drive.
Dave Williamson, president of the chapter, said members of the chapter participated in several fund-raising events to raise money for the turkeys. He said the chapter has provided 1,300 turkeys over the past seven years.
“This is just our opportunity to give back to the community,” Williamson said.
CARTEENS and other Clermont County 4-H clubs donated all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner including stuffing, potatoes, vegetables and a dessert.
Lynn Stranz, coordinator of emergency services at the YWCA Eastern Area, said that families they work with at the food pantry were selected to receive the meals.
Stranz said that without the meals provided at the food drive, the families’ Thanksgiving would be much different.
“It would be whatever they had in the cabinet,” Stranz said. “It could be a sandwich, it could be whatever.”
Amy Jones, of Amelia, received a Thanksgiving meal for her family during the event.
“It means a happy Thanksgiving to me,” Jones said about receiving the food.
Jones said receiving the Thanksgiving meal, and other meals from the food pantry helps.
“Whether you get a little or a lot, you’re blessed because it helps,” Jones said.
Families that picked up their Thanksgiving meals Nov. 16 were also able to receive cooking tips and recipes from Clermont County Extension educators.
Margaret Jenkins, county director and family and consumer science educator, talked with families about food safety and cooking practices.
Jenkins explained the proper thawing and cooking techniques for a turkey, and also showed families how to incorporate herbs and spices into the process.
“Holidays are a popular time for food illness,” Jenkins said. “The main reason (we’re doing this) is to have people use safe food preparation.”
Jenkins said the second reason is to help show people how to stretch the Thanksgiving meal into several meals with other recipes for leftovers.
Mona Glover, program assistant for family and consumer science and the family nutrition program, handed out samples and talked with families about other recipes they can use that incorporate Thanksgiving leftovers.
“The point is to help them extend their food dollar,” Glover said. “To show them that there are other things they can try.”
Sylvia Toren and Trina Hawthorne, both of Amelia, sampled recipes and listened to cooking tips at the food drive.
“I think it’s great,” Toren said about the cooking and recipe tips.
Hawthorne said she liked that the recipes used Thanksgiving leftovers.
“I love to get new recipes,” Hawthorne said. “I never know what to do with the leftovers.”
For more information about the food drive visit www.clermont.osu.edu. For more information about the River Valley Longbeards visit www.rivervalleylongbeards.com. For more information about the YWCA Eastern Area visit www.ywca.org.