Baskets feed thousands for Thanksgiving

An army of volunteers gathered together at Daytona State College’s main campus on Nov. 18 for a good cause. The Basket Brigade, sponsored by the Volusia County school system, collected food donations for needy families throughout Volusia County.

Five hundred colorful baskets, packed with all the trimmings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, filled the Lenholt Student Center alone, with many more being delivered via U-Haul and personal vehicles on the day of the event. Amy Hall of Port Orange, who has been coordinating the event for the past six of its 19 years, was excited to be helping those within her community.

“We do this to give people in our community. This isn’t a hand out, it’s a hand up,” said Hall, who created a GoFundMe page that raised $4,500 for the cause.

Daytona State students were very much involved with the event, which included forming an assembly line to remove all of the baskets from the Lenholt Center. Members from the college’s Science Club were on hand to help as well. Leah Regerio, a biochemistry major and the club’s president, felt it was important to come out and support the community.

“Our club wants to give back to the community in any way possible. It’s a way to celebrate Thanksgiving, a part of Thanksgiving is to help give, so this is a great event to help participate in,” Regerio said.

Once the baskets were removed from the vehicles and student center, they were picked up by volunteers and delivered to neighborhoods all over Volusia County. Families were nominated to receive the baskets, most of which were given anonymously. At the event, volunteers were encouraged to use social media to get the word out using #BasketBrigade on different platforms. The goal was to have 1,000 baskets for distribution, but the end result was nearly double that. In all, there were 1,900 baskets delivered to families in need.

“This is a great community event.” said Maria Benat, who serves on the Basket Brigade committee. “How could you not want to? This is amazing.”