Fort Lauderdale, FL (November 4, 2016) – Thanksgiving is meant to be a holiday celebrated around the dinner table, sharing a home-cooked meal with those who are near and dear. However, for some families who have experienced hardship, this sadly may not be their experience.

Fort Lauderdale’s most historic church, First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale, will bring together more than 200 volunteers to pack approximately 750 baskets filled with all the ingredients to help those in need have a Happy Thanksgiving!

“It is in giving that we receive,” said Kathy Craven, Chair of the Thanksgiving Basket Drive. “Thanksgiving is all about giving back, brightening the day of others, and seeing someone smile because of a thoughtful deed. It is truly a blessed time.”

Funded by, in part, through generous donations from the Church’s congregation, this project started in the 1960’s when Rev. Dr. John Taxis and Bill Zeiher challenged First Pres’ young worshipers to emulate Jesus Christ. The challenge was to express love, like Jesus would, by sharing Thanksgiving dinner with low-income families. Since the drive’s early beginnings, the mission has grown tenfold.

This year, the committee, which is chaired by church members Sally Botkin and Kathy Craven, is expected to raise more than $27,000for the Thanksgiving project through donations from the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale congregation and grants from the Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale, FPL, the Presbytery of Tropical Florida, and Publix. In addition, volunteers from the Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, Family Embrace and others will assist in the effort to pack and deliver the baskets.

“We purchase all of our food from Publix to ensure the families we serve get the exact foods that they need to make a fresh Thanksgiving meal,” said Craven. “Our baskets include a turkey, stuffing mix, gravy mix, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and of course pumpkin pie.”

The Annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive will take place on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at First Presbyterian Church.  If you are interested in giving back this Thanksgiving, consider volunteering your time to help pack the baskets, or making a contribution to sponsor a basket in the amount of $35.00. For more information or to sign up to volunteer call (954) 462-6200.

About First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale
Founded in 1912, First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale is located on the banks of the New River in the historic Colee Hammock neighborhood in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. With more than 1,800 members, and a strong core of volunteers, First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale prides itself in offering something for everyone, regardless of age. Since 1947, First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale has operated Happyland Day School, a pre-school for ages two to Kindergarten that provides a quality Christian environment for the children of the community. Adult, youth and children choirs as well as youth groups offer ample opportunity for fellowship at any age. An Adult Activity Center is open to senior citizens and features weekly lunches, entertainment and monthly bus trips. First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale offers two regular Sunday services as well as special worship services held throughout the year to commemorate significant days. For more information, please visit the website at