Every year Thanksgiving comes and goes and I kick myself for not doing more to give back to the community. I gorge on turkey and mashed potatoes and feel a niggling of guilt for the not finding some type of volunteer activity.
The Junior League graciously gave me an easy opportunity to engage in the Thanksgiving spirit when a Done in a Day (DIAD) was posted to volunteer at the Chicago Basket Brigade. The Chicago Basket Brigade is an event that happens each year right before Thanksgiving and was inspired by Tony Robbins and his experiences as a child. He recalled growing up in a struggling family and someone knocked on their door with a basket of Thanksgiving food. He said it changed his life and wanted to share his story with others to encourage a giving spirit.
The Junior League had 40 eager volunteers that helped make baskets and also helped deliver them to needy families. Along with the Junior League’s fantastic turnout, there were families, couples, and other groups that helped fill over 1,500 baskets for families all over the greater Chicago.
The whole operation was like an assembly line with volunteers handing food to people with baskets and continuing down the line until the baskets were overloaded with anything anyone could possible need for a Thanksgiving feast: stuffing, corn, macaroni and cheese, pie crust, spinach, and much more. Each basket has to pass quality control, where even more volunteers check to make sure that each basket contains each item. Then the basket is passed on to yet even more volunteers where they wrap it, add a bow, and lastly attach a note asking for the recipients to pay it forward sometime in the future.
The line was long with ready volunteers excited to also give back as the day moved on. I couldn’t resist taking a video of the line and the amazing operational structure that Basket Brigade put together:
Thanks to DIAD and the Chicago Basket Brigade for giving me the opportunity to put the “giving” back in Thanksgiving!
By: Kate Neuns, 2015-16 Topics & Trends member