Lighthouse Church to provide Christmas dinner for 500 families

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Plainfield - posted Fri., Nov. 22, 2013

Seven years ago, volunteers at Lighthouse Church in Plainfield began a Christmas dinner basket benefit. They put together 15 baskets for people in need. Last year they served 367 baskets. This year they expect 500 families to ask for help. On their first day of registration, 63 people called. Sixty called on the second day. Burnett is afraid that they’ll run out of money and food to provide for everyone who calls.

“The funds and donations are what they are,” she said. Burnett attributes the growing need to a bad economy, job loss and healthcare issues. There might have been a death in the family or health care costs that drained resources. She has heard many stories. “We have people who’ve been with us for years who still have needs,” she said. “They can’t get out of that cycle.”

So she and a group of stalwart volunteers spend the year raising money to provide Christmas dinners for those who need them. They have gotten good at it. Spreadsheets keep them organized. Families are categorized by size, so baskets are packed appropriately. The baskets cost approximately $35 each.

The biggest challenge: the turkeys. An 18-pound turkey for each basket comes out to 9,000 pounds of fowl. Burnett is working on prices with some major distributors, but she hasn’t finalized any deals yet. It’s the biggest expense, and this year the church will need a box truck to transport them.

Still, Burnett and her volunteers are committed to doing what they can for their neighbors. “We’re there to share with people in need,” she said.

For more information or to donate food or money, call 860-822-3363.

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