MOBILE, Ala. – Sailors from the Independence (LCS 2) precommissioning crew took time out from training Nov. 8 to help ensure a more bountiful Thanksgiving for families in Mobile, Ala. feeling the economic pinch.
Led by Culinary Specialist 1st Class Alicia F. Russo, a native of Key Largo, Fla., forty three Sailors gathered at the Prodisee Pantry, where they helped to make the organization’s motto -- “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” -- a reality by preparing holiday food baskets.
“It’s the least we can do for a community that has opened its arms for us,” Russo said.
In less than three hours, Independence Sailors helped to put together 1,105 holiday food boxes -- work that normally takes Prodisee Pantry volunteers weeks to do on their own.
"It was an absolutely inspirational moment,” said Deanne Servos, executive director of Prodisee Pantry. “We never could figure out how we were going to put together 1,200 holiday boxes plus the twelve hundred regular family boxes that we give out. That's twenty four hundred boxes. So, we were ecstatic to get the help."
Each year, the Baldwin County based organization provides food, support and other supplies to more than 12,000 families facing tough times throughout the year. For the Thanksgiving, the group plans to provide approximately 1,200 turkey dinners with all the trimmings to local families.
“We want to have a traditional meal at the households of the families so they can sit at the table together and be thankful,” Servos said.
Each Holiday food box consisted of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, corn, corn muffin mix, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, pie crust and canned pumpkin. Later, when the boxes are distributed, the refrigerated items will be added.
"Many of the families we provide meals for will not be able to afford holiday meals this year. So, this will really make a difference in their lives," Servos said.