Holiday Basket program, Giving Tree return to Town Hall

Holiday Basket program, Giving Tree return to Town Hall

Peggy Weigner, of the Lincoln Planning Department, stands near the Giving Tree at Town Hall. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – Town employees are working to ensure that no Lincoln family is forgotten this holiday season, regardless of their financial status.

First, Lincoln is conducting its annual food drive to benefit the town’s Holiday Basket program, which provides large baskets of food to Lincoln families in need for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Collection bins for donated nonperishable food items and canned goods are located at every public school, the Lincoln Public Library, Lincoln Senior Center and Town Hall. 

Program administrator and Town Planner Al Ranaldi said the program is intended to make the holiday season a little brighter for Lincoln families who may be struggling with finances.

“This simple act of kindness can change a challenging holiday time into a joyous and memorable holiday season for our neighbors,” he said.

Last year, the town-led effort fed nearly 220 local families for Thanksgiving. Peggy Weigner of the Planning Department said more than 200 have already signed up for Thanksgiving baskets this year, with more on a waiting list.

Town officials work with the Lincoln Housing Authority to help identify those who may benefit from the program, targeting those who receive or qualify for some sort of state social aid. 

The food baskets are filled with items to put together a Thanksgiving meal, including a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, squash and a pie for dessert, as well as extra items such as peanut butter, soup, pasta, cereal and more. 

Those baskets will be distributed by volunteers at the Lincoln Senior Center, 150 Jenckes Hill Road on Monday, Nov. 25, from 2 to 6 p.m. 

Round two of the effort begins before Christmas, when town employees and volunteers again overflow baskets with food items.

At Christmastime, a Giving Tree also stands in the lobby of Town Hall, encouraging community members who pass through to consider helping a local family by anonymously providing a Christmas gift or holiday basket.

On Friday, Dec. 20, from 2 to 6 p.m., volunteers will return to the Senior Center to pass out another 220-plus food baskets, along with Christmas gifts for families with children under age 14. 

Families receiving baskets do not have to step outside of their vehicles during the pick-up, as volunteers provide drive-up service. 

People can help by donating nonperishable food items or “adopting” a family off the Giving Tree. People can bring a new children’s gift (ages newborn to 14), unwrapped, and place it under the tree in the Town Hall lobby.

In 2018, Lincoln supplied presents for 160 local children, including 77 boys and 83 girls. 

As of mid-November, more than 80 families were signed up to receive Christmas presents.

“I expect there will be much more,” Weigner said.

Monetary donations can be made to the town of Lincoln Giving Tree program, or individuals and companies may donate grocery store gift cards to help round out the holiday baskets. 

With questions on the program or where you can drop off food, call Weigner at 401-333-8431.