Thanksgiving food baskets available to service members, veterans

Sgt. Adam Erickson and Sgt. Amber Paris, of the 1035th Maintenance Support Company, help unload
200 Thanksgiving food baskets at the Jefferson Barracks Food Pantry. (Bill Phelan photo)

By Bill Phelan

JEFFERSON BARRACKS, Mo. - Appropriately enough, when a soldier support organization asked Staff Sgt. Teresa Thomas, a readiness sergeant with the Missouri National Guard's 70th Troop Command, for help, she was more than ready to do so.

At the request of the Family Readiness Group, Thomas recently enlisted the help of eight fellow Soldiers and a two-and-a-half ton Army truck to transport 200 Thanksgiving food baskets from Lambert Airport to the food pantry at Jefferson Barracks.

"I told them they would be helping a lot of families," Thomas said.

The "baskets" are actually aluminum roasting pans filled with holiday food items and are available to all active duty, National Guard and Reserve military personnel and veterans.

"The baskets came about through the USO of Missouri," explained Nancy Amundson, a Family Readiness volunteer at Jefferson Barracks. "Each basket contains all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner and this year there is also a gift card from Wal-Mart for the purchase of a turkey."

A USO spokeswoman said the organization will distribute more than 1,300 baskets in the St. Louis area.

"A lot of the donated food comes from the public and especially from Boeing employees," said Sara Colvin.

Given the state of the economy, the number of overseas deployments, and the fact that some military personnel in the National Guard and Reserves have lost their civilian jobs, Amundson said the Jefferson Barracks Food Pantry would be a busy place again this year.

"The food baskets are an absolute God-send because now we will be able to help a lot more of our servicemen and women and veterans," she said. "If I could speak to those who donated this food I would tell them that they have touched more lives in ways they will never even imagine. They have met some very basic needs for some people who would have otherwise not had a Thanksgiving meal."

The National Guard Family Readiness Group operates three food pantries in the state. Each is open to any service member, military veteran or retiree.

For more information contact Nancy Amundson, 314-600-0096.

For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please call 1-800-GoGuard or visit

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