CHATHAM — Thanks to the generosity of complete strangers, 14 needy families will soon be enjoying a holiday feast, delivered by a trio of Chatham firefighters.
Firefighter Scott Long said he was approached by a year-round Chatham family interested in helping out some neighbors.
“They had an idea about delivering meals for the less fortunate for Christmas,” Long said. Initially, the family planned to do the grocery shopping themselves, but decided the best approach would be to recruit the fire department to help. Along with firefighters Seth Karter and James Young, Long agreed to take on the project.
The firefighters planned out a menu and priced out the individual items, and then recruited the owners of Chatham Village Market to help them shop.
The meal will include a spiral-cut ham, rolls and butter, stuffing, potatoes, canned vegetables, pasta, cranberry sauce, cider and milk, and a pie. Purchased with a $1,000 gift from the donors and packaged in special gift baskets they provided, the groceries will be delivered Friday. The donation was made through the Chatham Fire Association.
Bob White of Chatham Village Market said his employees would select the best items, waiting until the last minute to ensure that the pies and milk are fresh. They planned to remove all the price tags and deliver them to the fire station for packaging.
Long said he worked closely with the Chatham Food Pantry and the council on aging to identify families to receive the donated food. He called the families beforehand to make sure they would accept the gift, and ended up with a list of 14 recipients. The families – a mix of senior citizens and younger families – were surprised and grateful at the act of generosity.
The anonymous donors will also never know the names of those who received their gift.