DINNER FOR 2,700: Feast of Plenty seeking volunteers, donations

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GREENFIELD — Those wanting to show their gratitude this month by giving to others can step up to volunteer with the Feast of Plenty.

Hancock County’s annual Thanksgiving Day tradition that feeds thousands will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 25 at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The event will be drive-through and delivery only again this year. Foregoing the dine-in option was a necessity in 2020 due to COVID-19. But the process became so streamlined and fed even more people than before that organizers are maintaining the method at least for now.

Donations and volunteers are needed for the event that is expected to deliver up to 2,700 meals and 500 bags of groceries throughout Hancock County and beyond.

“This is kind of a trying time for a lot of people,” said Ty Hunt, kitchen lead for theFeast of Plenty. “The good Lord always provides. Something always comes through.”

Volunteers are needed to deliver meals and prepare food; financial donations are needed for the meal; and bags of groceries are needed to hand out to families. Hunt said so far they are a little bit behind this year on donations, but he’s confident the community will pull through as it always does.

After all, it is the “miracle on Apple Street.” At least that’s what founder Lisa Muegge called it when she started it in 2005. Lisa Muegge passed away six years ago, and her friends and family have carried on the tradition in her honor.

Jeff Muegge said his late wife’s legacy lives on and it’s miraculous to see so many people come together not just on Thanksgiving Day, but in the weeks leading up to the event.

“I made some callbacks last night on some meals and just to hear people talk about her,” Muegge said. “The lady I talked to last night was a 13-year volunteer of the event, and she just talked about how she appreciated (Lisa’s) energy and her faith. I think (Lisa) would be really surprised at the way the community has supported the event. They always did, but to see it grow to where it has grown to know.that’s one thing that allows it to continue to grow, is the support of the community. And she just had that.”

This year’s event will be set up much like it was in 2020, with a drive-through lane for people that wish to come to the fairgrounds and pick up their own food. And there will be deliveries of meals as well, with color-coded vehicles going in all directions of the county and even neighboring communities closeby.

“Last year it worked really well; we were able to streamline the delivery drivers better, more efficiently,” Muegge said. “We set up a tent outside and we had a drive-through for people who can just drive-through and pick up meals for themselves. We were able to even visit with some families and plug them into other areas where they can get some help.”

Hunt, who is the director of nutritional services at Hancock Regional Hospital, said if people want to donate food, they should give financially online or to the account at Greenfield Banking Company. Homemade baked goods are not accepted, but those wishing to donate food items are encouraged to buy a bag of groceries — specific items are listed on the website — and those groceries are delivered with the meals.

There are usually plenty of volunteers for the event. In fact, they have to limit the time slots for people to volunteer so everybody who wants to can get a chance to help out. Some families use it as a teaching tool, Muegge said, delivering meals together on Thanksgiving Day to show their kids what the season of gratitude is all about.

Now is also the time to sign up for a delivery.

“It doesn’t matter what the reason, we want to feed you,” Hunt said. “You might be new to town, and you don’t know anybody or your family may be far away. It may just be that it’s tight this year and you don’t feel like cooking, and you don’t want to go out to eat. It’s no requirements, no restrictions. We just want to feed people.”

Hunt said there are volunteers that return every year, but also new volunteers like to help out.

“It’s a great event; it’s a real testament to Greenfield and Hancock County how many companies and groups — small groups and church groups and families — that come together and make it happen every year,” Hunt said. “If you want your heart to warm up, come out and see what happens at the Feast.”

At a glance 

The 16th annual Feast of Plenty will be held Nov. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds. Meals will be delivered to homes this year, or people may come to the fairgrounds to pick up their meals via a drive-through. Visit feastofplentyoutreach.com to:

Request a delivery

Sign up to volunteer (roles are available for deliveries, kitchen, clean-up, grocery prep and more)

Donate financially or sponsor a turkey

Learn about grocery donations

Bags of groceries are offered to families that request a meal at the Feast of Plenty. There are 500 bags of groceries needed at the event. To shop for a bag, visit the website and sign up for how many bags you’ll pack. Each bag should contain a jar of jelly, peanut butter, pasta sauce, pasta, beans, rice, four cans of vegetables or fruit, a box of granola bars, two bars of soap, a four-pack of toilet paper, and a bottle of liquid dish detergent. Any extras that will fit in the bag are also appreciated. Bags of groceries need to be dropped off at the fairgrounds between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 24 or OVERSET FOLLOWS:8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Nov. 25.

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