A beautifully browned turkey, mounds of mashed potatoes with pools of gravy, herbed stuffing, a steaming side of corn, cranberry relish and pumpkin pie with whipped topping; add a grateful heart, and you’ve got the makings of a happy Thanksgiving celebration! And that is exactly what the members of the Litchfield Seventh-day Adventist Church wished for everyone in their community when providing Thanksgiving baskets, filled to the brim with traditional fixings, for those experiencing financial difficulty during the last harvest season.

Members began planning and preparing for their fifth annual Thanksgiving basket outreach project as soon as the previous year’s project was completed. Offerings to fund the baskets were collected throughout 2017. Donations from local businesses were solicited. Names of prospective recipients were obtained from a county social services organization. The week before the scheduled distribution, recipients were contacted and invited to pick up their baskets on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Finally, the morning of Nov. 19, 2017 arrived. Forty baskets, filled with all the ingredients necessary for a traditional holiday meal, lined almost every pew in the sanctuary. One by one, community members walked through the door and were greeted warmly. Happy people expressed their joy and thankfulness. Many stayed to share a delicious meal, lovingly prepared by church members. Everyone left with happy smiles and heartfelt thank yous. They took with them more than turkey and mashed potatoes; they left knowing somebody cared. It was love in a basket, a love that started in heaven, found a place in the hearts of a church family and overflowed to others in a tangible act of goodwill.

The author, a member of the Litchfield church, wishes to remain anonymous.