Volunteers pack grocery boxes for the Integrated Family Community Services Fresh Thanks event on Nov. 18, 2023. Credit: Photo courtesy of Sandra Blythe Perry

Ahead of Thanksgiving, Integrated Family Community Services, or IFCS, hosted a Fresh Thanks event to provide grocery boxes for holiday meal support to the community at Arapahoe Community College. 

Todd McPherson, director of development, said the Nov. 18 event went well with great weather and community engagement. 

McPherson said people were grateful for access to the food and resources “to prepare meals and gather family around them to celebrate the holiday.”

“They have extra ingredients that they can use for next month’s holidays,” he said. (People were) grateful for the King Soopers Gift cards to purchase other grocery items, toiletries and gas for travels. Glad that they have some food cost savings and that because of the food provided, they are able to have a little extra spending money for the necessities.”

McPherson said the best part of the event was seeing “the excitement of the volunteers, community groups, corporate teams and the community coming together to support each other.”

“The smiles and gratitude were very apparent. It was rewarding to see many diverse cultures getting the meal ingredients to create a celebration that is appropriate for them,” McPherson said. 

About 250 volunteers assisted with the event by packing boxes, managing traffic and loading up cars. Altogether, 500 boxes were distributed. 

McPherson said it was great to see the energy and commitment to helping people and to know IFCS was meeting a community need. 

Volunteers working to assemble boxes of groceries for a Fresh Thanks event hosted by Integrated Family Community Services on Nov. 18, 2023. Photo courtesy of Sandra Blythe Perry

“When many organizations are struggling to meet the unprecedented needs of our neighbors, IFCS was able to partner with the community and provide this event to nourish lives and bring people together for a time of celebration, reflection, and respite after a challenging year,” McPherson said. “We are indebted to Arapahoe Community College for their partnership and assistance in executing this event. ACC staff and students volunteered again to serve the community and were also served by the event.” 

McPherson said IFCS will host other events, including the distribution of toys, decorations and seasonal food boxes to 159 families and 334 children in December. 

“In addition, IFCS will help 25 home bound seniors get special gifts through affordable housing relationships,” McPherson said. “Many of these seniors have not opened a gift for years and are overjoyed by the privilege to have someone acknowledge them during a traditional time of celebration.” 

McPherson said IFCS has distributed holiday food to people for nearly 60 years and this year’s event was the fifth holiday-food Fresh Thanks Food event which IFCS started during the pandemic.

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