Hunger Task Force volunteers pack 800 holiday bins for families

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by Lane Kimble

MILWAUKEE -- People at the Hunger Task Force say, "Hunger never takes a holiday."  That was clear Sunday morning, a day they're normally closed,  hundreds of volunteers packed up holiday bins for families who need them the most.

 "We want to be a part of it, we really do," volunteer Jess Terry said.

Terry brought his daughters along to help.  This was the first time his family came to volunteer.

"We certainly want to start and educate, get those values in early," Terry said.  "Along with, you know, we need to be supporting our community and that's what it's all about."

The 800 bins are filled with fresh oranges, potatoes, onions, green bean casserole fixings, cranberries and treats.  Director Sherrie Tussler was thrilled with the support, but knows they need more help.

"People don't think about it, but what do you want to sit down to at your Christmas meal but a Christmas ham that's fresh, a real one," Tussler said.  "Not one in a can."

Hunger Task Force set a goal of 2,000 fresh hams, but were only at around 800 by Sunday morning.  Tussler still expects to make that goal.  Local pantry directors appreciate any help they get.

"I deliver this to families of six, seven and up," Riverwest Pantry Exec. Director Vincent Noth said.  Noth came by to pick up his shelter's allotment.  "To come and deliver a huge meal for Christmas is just an overwhelming blessing."

"About half of the people we're going to be serving are children," Tussler said.  "The people that you're going to be feeding today are the kids that are sitting down at the kids' table Christmas Day.  They're eating ham because of you."

The bins shipped out to 60 local food pantries where they'll be given to the neediest families just in time for the holiday.

"I always think there's a little distraction there, but we always have to come back to, 'What's the true meaning of what we're doing this  time of year,'" Terry said.  "That's making sure our communities are taken care of."

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