Final preparations underway for Thanksgiving Basket Drive at Goodman Community Center

Goodman Center Basket Drive

MADISON, Wis. — The holidays are a time for giving back, and that’s exactly what’s happening this weekend in the Goodman Community Center.

Starting on Saturday and lasting until Tuesday, Madison area families in need will receive baskets of Thanksgiving food complete with canned vegetables, macaroni and cheese, rolls, potatoes, pumpkin pie, and, of course, turkey.

Helping those in need is something that’s clearly a considerable force on the east side; 34 years ago, the Thanksgiving basket drive served a few hundred families in the Madison area. Now, it serves over 4,000 Thanksgiving meals to the community.

Goodman Community Center officials said each year, they have to turn away volunteers because so many want to help pack and distribute the thanksgiving meal baskets.

RELATED: Goodman Center sees record for first day of Thanksgiving Basket registration

“We’re a community center, so we’re all about bringing people together,” communications director Amie Hoag said. “We’re all about community, so it just makes sense that we would celebrate a holiday that is about exactly that.”

Friday morning, the center received not just a hefty donation, but also a story that brought tears to people’s eyes.

“We made a new friend at the Goodman Center today,” chief development officer Dani Luckett said. “Terry came in to tell me about his late wife, Ellen Marie Dudley. He’d found a note from her that was talking about supporting his neighbors and making an impact in the community. So he called me, told me he saw the news about this drive, and said, ‘I have to make a $10,000 gift to this effort.’ And I think I cried, it was amazing.”

It’s a legacy of giving back that’s helping fund yet another year of Thanksgiving baskets so that this holiday, everyone can gobble their way to a second, or third, slice of pie.

The Thanksgiving Basket Drive is still accepting donations. For an updated list of what’s still needed, click or tap here.