Early reports are that the LINK Thanksgiving programs served 411 needy families (about 1,850 people) Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, Trinity Presbyterian and Sterling United Methodist on Nov. 17. Guests received five days worth of non-perishable groceries and a grocery gift certificate, and then families were invited to visit the Sterling United Methodist Church to select a used winter coat or sweater at the Fellowship Hall; 450 used coats and 60 sweaters were distributed to 140 families between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Over $6,000 in grocery gift cards and 24,000 pounds of food were also distributed. LINK made 16 direct deliveries to the homes of the sick and handicapped. In addition 52 families in desperate need were walk-ins and received food and clothes. Food donations came from 20 public schools, Scouting for Food and local grocers.
More than 400 volunteers were needed to collect and pre-stage the food and clothes at three area churches. Volunteers coordinated the whole event, contacting schools and social workers, comparing recipient lists with other agencies, scheduling guest appointments, managing volunteer shifts, and staffing the guest registration desk.
The Boy Scouts and their leaders brought in 14 tons of food. The Girl Scouts who came in packed and sorted the groceries.
LINK President Betty Eidemiller said, "We are all blessings to one another, as we are blessed by our efforts to spread the blessings in our community. This project is half-done, with the Christmas basket distribution coming at us in a few weeks. However this week is a significant time to stop and thank all of you, to be thankful for all of you and to join in prayer with grateful reverence and appreciation for God’s generosity."
LINK, an all-volunteer Congressional Victory Against Hunger award-winning nonprofit organization since 1972, is interdenominational and consists of 12 Baptist, Brethren, Catholic, Episcopal, Fellowship, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian churches in the Herndon and Sterling areas.