Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends, share a traditional meal and express gratitude for the good things in life. But not everyone is able to afford the cost of a Thanksgiving feast, especially as inflation has been gobbling up more money from the pocketbooks of families.
For these reasons, Melaleuca partnered with The Salvation Army of Idaho Falls to host their annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, a delicious feast for families and individuals who might otherwise go without. This has been a longstanding tradition for the local Salvation Army chapter, and many look forward to it every year, whether they’re the ones enjoying the food or the ones serving it.
For the last three years, Melaleuca Team Members and the Melaleuca Foundation have gladly been donating all of the funds to cover the costs of this banquet.
Coming into this Thanksgiving, The Salvation Army knew that more families would be in need of assistance than in previous years. They were right.
The Need Has Never Been Greater
This year, the Salvation Army served 915 Thanksgiving meals, which was 415 more meals than last year. The dramatic uptick was a shocking reminder that food insecurity in America is rising.
Roughly half of these meals were delivered to less-fortunate families as well as the sick, elderly and disabled. Hundreds more came together to enjoy their meal, while visiting with friends and neighbors.
Behind the scenes, a volunteer army of 200 people cheerfully worked countless hours. Interestingly, some of these volunteers decided to serve because they preferred to help others rather than stay at home alone on Thanksgiving.
Last year, Captain John Birks of the Idaho Falls Salvation Army, said, “We see that providing them with this warm meal accomplishes many things; it helps those who would normally not be able to afford the meal, to have a warm place to come without bumping up the heat cost of their own home, and to have a sense of family and community which many don’t have.”
Salvation Army Captain Steve Staneart led this year’s effort, working with Melaleuca and all of the volunteers.
“Melaleuca’s generosity has been extraordinary, and they’ve been a blessing for hundreds of families who need a little assistance,” Staneart said. “The Salvation Army has been able to count on Melaleuca and its employees to pitch in when it counts, and they have been an example in the relief of poverty and improvement of the community.”
Feeding the Hungry
Along with holding a successful food drive this year, Melaleuca created and paid for advertising campaigns to support four separate food drives for the Community Food Bank, a local nonprofit that feeds 1,500 families each month and supports 22 other nonprofits in East Idaho.
Additionally, over 140 Melaleuca Team Members volunteered at the food bank on four separate days to sort thousands of pounds of food and assemble holiday food boxes, ensuring that families in need received food weeks in advance.
In November 2023, Melaleuca Team Members and the Melaleuca Foundation raised $68,6500 to help feed the hungry. These funds will be distributed to several nonprofits across the country in support of families in need.