IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - On Monday ingredients for 800 Thanksgiving meals were boxed up to be sent out to families in the community. The event is put on by a group called Turkey Box.
Since September more than 100 volunteers have put in time to make sure their neighbors can enjoy a big holiday dinner this Thursday.
"It's a complete Thanksgiving meal in a box. They have a turkey, and potatoes and stuffing; cranberry sauce that goes with the bird; yams and marshmallows; and a pumpkin pie and a dozen rolls from Geraldines. It's a pretty complete package," said Jarod Phillips, board member for Turkey Box.
"It is a lot for us to get these out to almost 5,000 people this year" Jimme Scrogum, director for Turkey Box, said.
That is the biggest number of people served in the 13 years Turkey Box has been operating.
Families are given vouchers for the box based on recommendations from other charities, churches and school districts.
"We have done a lot more this year. We have several on the waiting list, but we can only do what we have funds to do," said Scrogum.
The budget for this year was nearly $25,000. The funding comes entirely from donations, thanks to businesses around the community.
"It costs us about $30 to do a box, so any time anybody gives us funds it is always welcome and appreciated," said Scrogum.
The most appreciation is from the families who have one less thing to worry about this year.
"People actually do cartwheels with excitement. We have had lots of tears of joy that have been shed and very, very many words of thank you, letters that follow after Thanksgiving," said Phillips.
The event is at the O.E. Bell building in Idaho Falls on Monday and Tuesday evenings. When families arrive they will grab all the dry ingredients inside. The they will head outside to pick up the turkey and pumpkin pie, since temperatures are low enough to keep them cold.
The Turkey Box also feeds families at Christmas. Donations are accepted at the Bank of Idaho.