Lexington, Ky. (FOX 56) — God’s Pantry Food Bank is helping set the table for 5,000 families this Thanksgiving. This weekend was the 19th annual Sharing Thanksgiving Basket Brigade event hosted by God’s Food Pantry. Hundreds of volunteers came out to box up food for a good cause. With the recent rise in inflation and families still recovering from pandemic strains, the volunteers were extra eager to lend a helping hand.

Barbara Hamilton has been volunteering at the event for the last fifteen years. After her son passed away, she wanted to do something annually with her family to honor his memory. This year, fifteen of them came out to the event. Barbara said she looks forward to it every year and it makes the month her son passed a little bit easier.

“I actually said yesterday to someone that I’m glad we’re doing this because I know he would approve. He approves of this because it’s the kind of thing that you know, would touch his heart,” said Hamilton.

Barbara isn’t the only one who’s been volunteering for a long time. In fact, many of them have been spending a weekend in November packing boxes for the last fifteen years. The boxes will contain everything needed for a Thanksgiving feast including brownie mix, sweet potatoes, and of course a turkey.

The CEO of God’s Pantry Food Bank said the boxes have enough food to feed eight family members.

“So, in the basket is all of the non-perishable’s goods that we will then match up with a turkey, onions, potatoes, butter, eggs, and if we’re lucky, milk. There’s a couple of cans of green beans, a couple of cans of corn, some sweet potatoes, some cranberries, some pears, some peaches, some brownie mix, and of course, you can’t leave out the cornbread stuffing. It’s all of the food that’s necessary to provide a meal for up to eight people around someone’s table for thanksgiving.”

Inflation has impacted the cost of many of the items the CEO listed. A turkey alone will cost you thirty percent more than it did last year.

Because of higher prices, God’s Pantry Food Bank has seen an increase in families needing their assistance since the middle of the summer.

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“Earlier there were a lot of federal programs that were available to help people. Stimulus checks, child tax credit, maximum snap allotment, all of those programs are gone, and we are seeing an increase in demand. We’re also seeing an increase because of the high cost of inflation. There are a lot of people right now experiencing hunger who need help,” said Halligan.

Due to more families needing help, the volunteers were very enthusiastic about giving back this year. They say it’s more fun than it is work, many of them were dancing and singing while working. Having family and friends dancing alongside them, made it that much more enjoyable.

“I feel blessed and really the opportunity to do this is a blessing too. We all like to have a way to give back, especially this time of year, thanksgiving so and then having my friends and family makes it even more special,” said Hamiliton. Another volunteer, Woodrow Gibbins added, “It’s a good experience, it really is. You know, it’s a good feeling inside to try to help a little bit and I think everyone should try it at least once.”

If you would like to donate to God’s Pantry Food Bank, would like to volunteer, or know of a family needing assistance, head to God’s Pantry Food Bank website.