Lending a hand to families in need.

That's the goal for the annual "Sharing the Feast" Thanksgiving food basket drive, conducted by members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware County and officials from Jay America Radio Network.

This is the fifth year for the project, which provides a thanksgiving basket for families whose children attend one of the six Delaware County Clubs in Jay, Kansas, Moseley, Leach, Kenwood and Watts.

Jay Cranke, executive officer for the clubs, said the groups have set a goal to raise enough funds to provide 100 families with food baskets.

The families are picked by staff of the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware County, based upon need. Approximately 500 families have children enrolled in the six clubs.  

Last year fundraising efforts brought in more than $2,600 for the project. This year Cranke hopes to exceed $3,000.

“The number of people that have opened their hearts and their wallets in support of this project since 2013 has been fantastic,” Cranke said. “But many more families are in need of our help.”

Cranke modeled the project after a similar effort in another community. In the first year, the drive helped provide food baskets for 40 families. The number has grown each year.

"If we could raise enough money, we could fund more than 1,000 baskets in the county," Cranke said. "We're just trying to do our part to help those in need.

"If we can provide food for 100 families every year, that's great."

Cranke said the baskets cost between $30 to $40, based upon bulk pricing for the items. He asks for funding, rather than donated items, because items are purchased in bulk from the Jay Walmart. 

Local Walmart officials work with the Boys & Girls Club to ensure discounts on items whenever possible.

Each basket contains a turkey, box of stuffing, two vegetables, box of potatoes, 12 rolls, cranberry sauce and a pumpkin pie.

Raising the funds

Each year, Cranke challenges the seven members of the organization's board of directors to each donate $50 toward the project. That challenge - which includes a $50 donation by Cranke - typically brings in $400.

Last year, he issued a similar challenge -without a dollar amount - to the Boys & Girls Club staff members. 

“I was extremely proud that every one of our staff members took money from their paychecks to help some of the families in their clubs have a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner,” Cranke said, adding the staff raised $200, which he and his wife, Hope, matched last year.

“It’s amazing what we can do with a five dollar donation,” Cranke said. “For every $5 donation someone else is donating $20 and we have just purchased another food basket.”

Cranke said he hopes people who take part in the effort realize the project is one way the Boys & Girls Club reaches into the community.

"We're not just a place for kids to come," Cranke said. "When we know families need help, we want them to know we are here to help."

The deadline for donations is Wednesday, Nov. 15. Baskets will be delivered to families by on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

For more information about the project, or to make a donation, persons interested may contact Cranke at 918-253-2500, jay@jayamericaradio.com or jaybgcdc@gmail.com.

Did You Know?

It takes an average of $30 to $40 to fund a Thanksgiving basket through the Sharing the Feast initiative. 

Organizers have set a goal to raise at least $3,000 to fund 100 baskets throughout Delaware County.

The deadline for donations is Wednesday, Nov. 15. Baskets will be delivered to families by on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

For more information about the project, or to make a donation, persons interested may contact Jay Cranke at 918-253-2500, jay@jayamericaradio.com or jaybgcdc@gmail.com.