La Crosse community group makes Thanksgiving dinner possible for 100 area families

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Families across the country are feeling the strain this holiday season. At Everyone Needs a Helping Hand’s 6th annual Thanksgiving dinner box giveaway, volunteers helped 100 local families gather around the table.

Every family is feeling the strain this holiday season.

For some families, thanksgiving isn’t possible.

“I remember growing up, and my mom was always struggling with bills. We really didn’t even have a lot to even eat at some times,” said Brenda Mateo, a volunteer. “It is a really hard time for the parents because they don’t know what to tell their kids, that they don’t have enough money for just a meal. And here we are—we’re giving back.”

Years ago, the Everyone Needs a Helping Hand Facebook group came together to offset those costs.

“I started this to make sure that they have everything that they need for their families,” said Delania Heller, the group’s founder. “It gives them pride to be able to cook—and we provide everything for them.”

On Tuesday, volunteers packed those boxes for families in need. Then they were hand-delivered by strangers turned friends.

“It just makes my heart warm that we’re doing this,” said Keauna Bjorkman, another volunteer.

This year, Heather Silvers added to the offer with her “Adulting is Stupid” project, contributing household essentials to 38 families.

“Just thinking you know how good it’s going to feel for these families. To have not only a nice meal, but also, you know, they can have all the tools they need to clean up and stay healthy,” Silvers said.

Help for the holidays made possible— thanks to volunteers and donations.

“It’s amazing how people do need, but it’s amazing how many people have come out just to help the community and to help the project grow,” Heller said.

A community effort, removing some of the financial barriers from a Thanksgiving tradition.

Those who received the boxes got access by reaching out to the Everyone Needs a Helping Hand Facebook group.

They filled out a form explaining their need. The group selected 100 families. Heller tells me that they unfortunately couldn’t help everyone who asked.

Members of the group help people with different needs year-round.