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Stuffed and thankful

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Beth Wheelock Tallon
November 7, 2012

This entry is written by Jessica Schafer-Locher, client advocate and office manager of ECHO. She may be contacted directly at jschafer@echojanesville.org.


Thanksgiving brings up the question "What are we thankful for?".
As a newlywed this year I have many things to be thankful for: my husband, family, friends, a place to live, and a job. One tradition that I can't wait to start with my new husband is to say what we are both thankful for before we get “stuffed” on a great meal at Thanksgiving.

A recent survey of ECHO's clients showed their thankfulness for the services we provide them. Please help those in our community who are in need have a meal of "thankfulness" for by volunteering or making a donation this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Baskets have been a service of ECHO since 1975. For many years the basket distribution was held at Faith Lutheran Church. A few years ago it was moved to the Rock County Fairgrounds because the number of families needing the food for the holiday outgrew the space at the church. The basket includes a turkey, vegetables, potatoes & gravy, stuffing, bread, milk, margarine, homemade cookies or bars, pumpkin pie & whipped topping, and other miscellaneous items.


The number of people thankful for this service remains high. In 1998, a little over 1,000 people received a Thanksgiving Basket. In 2011, just under 2,000 people received Thanksgiving Baskets. We are still seeing many people looking for jobs or better paying jobs. Many of our clients have low-paying jobs or are on disability who need a little assistance to make their funds stretch to cover their bills. We all know how much it costs to provide a nice Thanksgiving meal.


All who sign up for the Thanksgiving Basket program need to bring in their photo ID, a current utility bill and proof of income for the entire household. Many of our clients are in the 0-30% County Median Income, which for a household of 4 is between $0-$1,633 per month. This is a gross income amount, so taxes or other deductions like insurance is not taken out yet. The average rent and utilities for a 2 bedroom apartment is $735 per month. That does not leave a lot of money left for medication, transportation, child care, food & personal items, clothing, and other miscellaneous items.

There are many ways you can help out with the Thanksgiving Baskets. Sponsors are needed for the Thanksgiving Baskets. Each basket costs $30 and feeds a family of 6.



If you would like to make a donation to for Thanksgiving Baskets, please send a check to the ECHO Office at 65 S. High St., Janesville, WI 53548, made out to: “ECHO Thanksgiving” or visit www.echojanesville.org to make a donation online.


Volunteers are needed at 7 AM to load the items for the baskets at the W Court St. Sentry. Assistance is also needed at 8 AM to begin packing the Thanksgiving Baskets at the Rock County Fairgrounds. Volunteers are needed at 9:30 AM for distribution of the Thanksgiving Baskets and at 10:45 AM to help clean up. Please call our volunteer coordinator, Fran, at 754-5333 with questions or to volunteer.


Grocery bags can be picked up at ECHO for school/youth groups and organizations to decorate. I am amazed by all of the different bags; it is inspiring to see the various artwork. Please bring your decorated bags to ECHO by Friday, Nov. 16.

Volunteer bakers are needed. Drop off your prepackaged cookies and bars (One dozen per ziploc bag) at Rock County Fairgrounds on Saturday, November 17, 7am-10am or at the ECHO office on Friday, November 16, 9am-Noon.

Please help make a family’s holiday a thankful one!



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