SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Young and Professionals of Sweetwater County (YAP) have raised enough money to help 21 families that wouldn’t have had a Thanksgiving meal this year.
YAP partnered with Bernadine Craft and Dickey’s BBQ to get 25 Thanksgiving dinners to families of various size. This is the 5th year of this partnership and the number of families they’ve been able to help has grown each year.
“This creative and much needed program initiated by YAP has steadily grown over the years; its purpose is to identify families/children who have “fallen through the cracks” and who, without this assistance, will have no Thanksgiving dinner. These typically are families who are either not knowledgeable about existing resources, or who do not know how to access those services. Frequently they are families who have unexpectedly, through calamities such as job loss, illness, accidents or death, depleted any savings for ‘luxuries’ such as a holiday meal.
— Rev. Dr. Bernadine Craft
Families are identified for this program through school counselors, school social workers, WWCC advisors, churches and “Climb Wyoming” personnel; self-referrals are not accepted.
Referral coordinators are Rev. Dr. Bernadine Craft, Executive Director of Sweetwater BOCES and Margaret (Peg) Larson, Student Success Advisor for Special Populations and Transfer Students at WWCC, both of whom have been involved with this program since its inception.
Selected families are given a gift certificate for a pre-cooked Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings from Dickey’s Barbecue, courtesy of YAP.
All participants have stated that Thanksgiving would not have been possible for them without this support, and many indicate that, even if food had been provided, they have no kitchen facilities and would have been unable to cook it.
“In these trying times when cruelty and hatred seem rampant, and compassion and caring seem almost like unattainable dreams, to have a group such as YAP provide so much for so many truly needy parents and children should serve to remind us all, perhaps now more than ever, that we are all being called to ‘heal a hurting world,'” said Craft.