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Things looked fairly bleak! We’ve been doing our annual “Turkey Challenge” for ten years now and it has pretty much grown every year. This year felt different. It’s hard to put a finger on why, but donations have been down for many charities. Maybe it is the change in tax laws on charitable contributions. Maybe it’s that those of us fortunate enough to feel pretty good about our plot in life right now allow ourselves, at times, to assume everyone is doing as well. For whatever reason this season just didn’t seem to have the same juice in continuing our incredible run of success in helping ensure that all families in our community enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

When I walked into the Food Shelf this morning to see where they stood, Executive Director Kathleen Souvigney wore an unmistakable look of concern. When she told me they had only collected 230 turkeys from the community, I was in shock. They need more than 600! She said even this weekend, the last weekend before Thanksgiving, donations have trickled in. Usually she needs volunteers to help sort and stock the donations. Charles Miller at Shoprite in Enfield said their drive has been slow as well.

So when we met this morning at the club to figure out how much we raised, I had considerable concern we could meet their challenge. We completed this year’s drive last night with a party in our newly renovated hall. Thanks to all of you who came and to those who couldn’t but contributed. I’m proud to say that with a late push from all of you, Council 50 contributed $3,500 to the cause. Shoprite Enfield matched our donation for an incredible $7,000! That should buy more than 500 turkeys! When I gave the good news to Kathleen, she was speechless and demonstrably relieved and thankful! Once again, Council 50 saved the day. Those were her words. All thanks to your incredible generosity! 

If you’re looking to show some appreciation to those in the community that helped, consider shopping at Shoprite, who matched our donation. Have a bite to eat or enjoy a drink at Yarde Tavern, which donated chili and wings for last night’s event. And come to one or more of Carl Cox’s Friday night dinners at the club and shake his hand. Carl is always so willing to help and asks for nothing in return. 

I have always been proud to be a Knight, especially at Council 50. We are a fraternity that extends to wives, significant others, and kids. We are always there for each other and for those in need, no matter the challenge! What you all did to step up to this year’s challenge is remarkable! On behalf of Grand Knight Joe Tiroletto and all the Officers at Council 50, thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! WE ARE COUNCIL 50! And this is what we do! And NOBODY does it better! God Bless!

Paul Cunningham