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Thankful for help: Volunteers pack 340 Thanksgiving meals for south Washington County families

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Lynette Atkinson and Bonnie Karas keep the Thanksgiving meal boxes moving down the packing line Sunday at the American Legion in St. Paul Park. Volunteers assembled 340 meal boxes. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)2 / 4
Spc. Tom Fix and other National Guard members unload frozen turkeys to be distributed with Thanksgiving meals in the Friends in Need Food Shelf's Share the Joy program. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)3 / 4
Volunteers packed 340 Thanksgiving meals Sunday as part of the Friends in Need Food Shelf's Share the Joy program. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)4 / 4

The early hour didn't seem to slow the dozens of people who showed up at 7 a.m. Sunday to pack Thanksgiving meals for the Friends in Need Food Shelf.

Nor did the fact that many of those volunteers were area Lions Club members who had helped serve a spaghetti dinner benefiting the food shelf the previous night.

"This is double duty and we really appreciate it," food shelf director Michelle Rageth told the volunteers gathered at the American Legion in St. Paul Park. They all were ready to complete their part of the assembly line meal-packing effort.

"Go for it," Rageth said, and they started filling cardboard Cub Foods boxes with a turkey, stuffing, cranberries, a 5-pound bag of potatoes, vegetables, dinner rolls, a pumpkin pie and whipped cream.

Within about 20 minutes, the group finished packing 340 meals. Churches added some pre-packaged meals.

"We're feeding 370" clients and their families, Rageth said.

The Thanksgiving meals are part of the food shelf's Share the Joy program during the holiday season.

In addition to Lions Club members and other volunteers, the food shelf got help from a group of National Guard members from the Cottage Grove Armory. They delivered and unloaded boxes of frozen turkeys.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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