Thanksgiving is usually a time for friends and family to gather around the table, feast on a hearty meal and share childhood stories. Afterwards, they wrap up the leftovers and store everything in the refrigerator. Most families are nibbling on turkey-inspired sandwiches, casseroles and soups for days. For the client homeless families of A Child’s Place, there is no money to purchase a Thanksgiving meal. There is no way to store or refrigerate food. The families may feel there is no reason to give thanks. That is why Thanksgiving sponsorship is so important.

Last year, the American Farm Bureau Federation conducted a study to determine the traditional cost of a Thanksgiving meal. The nonprofit grassroots organization relied on 150 volunteer shoppers across the country to price out normal Thanksgiving menu items, including turkey, rolls, pumpkin pie and stuffing.  The study reported that the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people was $49.48. For most people, that may not seem expensive.  But, for client homeless families, that is a large chunk of an already-limited budget.

Client families rely on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to provide their children with a free breakfast and lunch. When school is out, providing children with three square meals a day can be a big challenge for many parents and guardians.  The Thanksgiving sponsorship program helps parents meet that challenge. It asks you, the donor-sponsor, to purchase a grocery store gift card (preferably Food Lion) for a client family. The amount on the gift card should be a multiple of $10 per family member. The gift card represents not only a Thanksgiving meal, but food for subsequent meals during the school break.

The client families of A Child’s Place need your help now more than ever. The economy is recovering, but not completely healed from the 2008 recession. Unemployment in Mecklenburg County is close to 10 percent. Thousands of homes across Charlotte are in foreclosure, while many struggle to pay their mortgage or rent. Prices continue to climb on gas, groceries, clothing and other basic necessities. Visiting a doctor and filling prescriptions is costing more – not less.

Thanksgiving sponsorship is about more than just purchasing grocery store gift cards. You are providing a nutritious meal to a client homeless family who may otherwise eat something cheap and unhealthy or simply not eat at all. You are giving them hope when they may have none. You are giving them an opportunity to make their own special Thanksgiving memories. You, a perfect stranger, are saying you care. Despite being homeless, our client families will know that there is a reason to be thankful this holiday season. And that reason is you.

Sign up for Thanksgiving and holiday sponsorship today. If you have any questions, contact Emily Ransone at eransone@achildsplace.org or 704-943-9532.

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