As Thanksgiving approaches, Gift of Gobble is set to provide hundreds of meals to local families and individuals.
The program organized through Bounty for Families began several years ago. At first, they handed out 100 meals. Since then, the number of recipients has tripled.
“In the fall of 2021, we decided we wanted to provide meals to students at Yelm Community Schools,” Andrew Kollar, the district’s community relations specialist, said.
Now “a well oiled machine,” Kollar said the Gift of Gobble program planned to purchase 200 meals for families within Yelm Community Schools this year and another 100 meals were set to be distributed to individuals outside of the school district.
The effort is made possible in part by a $5,000 grant from Molina HealthCare and $500 from O Bee Credit Union.
“We order these meals in advance with our great partners at Grocery Outlet, and they’ll put a list together and we collaborate on it,” Kollar said. “At the end of the day, we have a full meal including a Thanksgiving turkey to offer for these families.”
Kollar, who takes care of the school district’s portion of the Gift of Gobble, said O Bee Credit Union is responsible for providing volunteers who pack and distribute the meals.
He stressed the importance of the organization’s counselors who also help make the event a success.
“Our councilors are the people identifying families, communicating when meals are ready for pickup, and keeping track of who picks them up. They’re a huge part of our team,” Kollar said. “The more we know, the more we’re able to help them out.”
Kollar, who is a member of the Yelm Community Outreach team and the Learners Without Limit program, thanked the organizations who help make the event possible each holiday season. They include Yelm Community Services, Crossroads Church of Yelm and the Yelm Prairie Christian Center. Crossroads Church and the Yelm Prairie Christian Center will also provide hot Thanksgiving meals to community members.
“Every holiday thing that we do, whether it’s partnering with businesses and organizations to create giving trees, and also those meals, are both huge community efforts,” Kollar said. “There are always different individuals and organizations that reach out asking if they can help, and that’s a true testament to how special of a place Yelm is. We couldn’t do it without that help.”
The Gift of Gobble initially started off with members of the Bounty for Families organization, who asked local businesses for donations or contributions. They have since partnered with other local organizations, which include Yelm Chiropractic, For the Love, Grocery Outlet, Anytime Fitness, and 507 Taproom, among others.