In a tradition begun more than 30 years ago, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Medford has distributed 200 Thanksgiving food boxes for distribution to needy families through Family Nurturing Center, Oak Grove, Jackson and Washington schools and Jackson County Health Department.
Parents who sign up for a box come to the schools and the Family Nurturing Center to pick up their family’s Thanksgiving dinner. JCHD distributes its boxes primarily to single-parent families.
The meal boxes, which come with a chicken, include fruit, vegetables, milk, beanms and rice, baked rolls and more. A Bible is included, along with an invitation to visit St. Mark’s Food Pantry every Thursday. The food pantry features fresh fruit and vegetables and clients can choose the foods they prefer.
Members of St. Mark’s Outreach Commission and pantry directors begin purchasing food in August for the event, which the church has been putting on since the early 1980s. This year, Access donated 750 pounds of apples and carrots each and 850 pounds of potatoes. Two hundred large chickens were purchased through Access at a reduced price.
St. Mark’s parish members donate monies towards the annual project. Ordinarily, each box costs approximately $30, totalling $6,000 for all 200 boxes. The ACCESS donations helped reduce the cost this year.
Sunday school students at St. Mark’s joined in the giving effort by assembling more than 50 ‘Blessing Bags’ that were donated to homeless youths through Maslow Project. The bags included hand warmers, shampoo, lotion, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and more.