Bob Sinclair Memorial Thanksgiving Meals Project

 
Two and one-half tons of food given to 111 families in need for 2016 Thanksgiving.
 
 
Original story by Candy Allan, Associate Editor, Pioneer
 
In a season of counting blessings, the Big Rapids Rotary Club is counting families they’re able to help with the gift of fixings for a traditional complete Thanksgiving meal.  Tuesday, club members packed and distributed more than two and a half tons of food — 5,328 pounds to be exact — to 111 families in the area who could benefit from a helping hand this holiday.
 
 “This is probably one of the best days to be a Rotarian in Big Rapids and I think most members of the club would agree,” said Emily Fransted, club chair of community service who headed up the Thanksgiving meal project this year.
 
Club members, with the assistance of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity members, picked up the food from area retailers, brought it to Great Lakes Book and Supply’s warehouse and speedily sorted it all into individual boxes for each family.  “We picked up the Big Rapids Rotary as our main beneficiary last year and we’re trying to keep up the relationship,” said SAE member Jake Janeschek.  “I think everyone enjoys the relationship on both sides,” added fellow SAE member Ian Macfarlane, who also helped with the food pick-up and packing effort last year.
 
In addition to a box containing yams, fruit cocktail, cookies, pumpkin pie, stuffing mix and other side-dish ingredients, each family received a 20-pound turkey and a 10-pound bag of potatoes, along with a disposable roasting pan to ensure they had something to use when cooking the bird.
 
This year’s number of families is a new record for the club’s Thanksgiving efforts, up 11 from 2015. The program continues to grow each year, Fransted said.  “The number of people we serve is increasing every single year we run this program,” she said. “I think a lot of it is due to the generosity of our members. This is something our members contribute to each week during the year.”
 
While families receiving the food may be grateful for the Rotarians’ efforts, club members find joy in the jobs they do to be able to give the dinner ingredients.  “This is when we really get to provide a service directly to the community and it’s a wonderfully rewarding feeling,” Fransted said. “We’re hoping to continue to grow the program and this is a great thing we do.”
 
 
Rotary Club of Big Rapids
PO Box 521
Big Rapids, Michigan 49307