Annually, CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare’s administrative, program and CPG clinical staff and CHRISTUS Health TLRA donate time and funds to create Thanksgiving Baskets for clients at St. Mary’s Clinic, Point of Light Clinic, and the Learning Center. These baskets feature a turkey and all the trimmings for a Thanksgiving meal. It is a great way to give back to those whose means may not allow them the ability to have a traditional meal.
This year’s recipients at St. Mary’s Clinic included five families where the grandparents were raising grandchildren; one elderly couple with few resources; a young, single mother suffering from breast cancer; two elderly sisters who survive by picking up cans and working odd jobs; one family with nine children; one family with three special needs children; and eight families who have few resources. Many other recipients included patients at Point of Light Clinic and students at the Learning Center.
One grandmother told the staff at St. Mary’s Clinic that she had not been able to get any Thanksgiving foods because their budget did not allow. Now her family could have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and more for later. The young woman with breast cancer was very grateful, especially that some of the food did not need much preparation since she was not feeling well after her chemotherapy. The common consensus was gratitude with abrazos (hugs) and big smiles that they had food not only for one day, but for many days.
One story was especially striking. One family – a grandmother caring for 3 children – came to mind after the St. Mary’s Clinic lists were completed, and so she could not be added to the list. When one of the families called on Wednesday to say they were not coming for their basket due to a family emergency, the grandmother was called immediately. To say she was grateful would be an understatement. Not only did they not have food for Thanksgiving, they were lacking food overall. So this basket not only meant a Thanksgiving meal, but also a couple weeks of food on their table. The St. Mary’s Clinic staff felt blessed to be able to share the abundance with her.
The Learning Center also had many thankful recipients. An ESL student originally from Chad in central Africa currently works in a restaurant kitchen. While she is bilingual in both French and Arabic, she hopes to improve her English and obtain a higher paying job. Another student, a single mother who fled an abusive marriage, learned of the GED program at the Learning Center. One of her goals is to work in an Early Childhood program, and she knows her GED is an important step to achieving that goal.
For clients of Our Daily Bread, a Thanksgiving meal is prepared on Wednesday. This year’s meal featured Logan Farms hams (courtesy of a generous board member of CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare), in addition to sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie for dessert. We are grateful to the volunteer group from Westwood Wealth Management, as well as our individual volunteers, for their help in preparing the meal and serving it.