waseca food shelf (copy)

The Waseca Food Shelf and the Waseca Area Neighborhood Service Center are offering Thanksgiving baskets, Christmas baskets and the Santa anonymous program this holiday season. Sign up for the Thanksgiving baskets is closed but the Christmas basket sign up is coming soon. (File photo/Southernminn.com)

Programs are planned in Waseca to help families who may be struggling during the holidays.

The Waseca Ministerial Association will be offering a Waseca community Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, Nov. 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Due to COVID-19 this meal is only available for pick-up or delivery by sign up only. Community members wanting a free-will donation meal can sign up by Friday, Nov. 20. To sign up, people can call the church office at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 507-835-2647. The meal offered consists of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies, salad, a dinner roll and desert.

The Waseca Area Neighborhood Service Center and the Waseca food shelf offer Thanksgiving baskets, Christmas baskets and the Santa Anonymous program. Thanksgiving baskets are available for pick up starting Saturday, Nov. 21 for those who signed up for the program. Anyone in need can call the food shelf at 507-833-4022. The basket includes turkey or something equivalent and other Thanksgiving foods such as dressing and potatoes. In order to put on this program, Thrivent Financial, Grace Lutheran Church, The Lions Club and community donations were collected.

“It’s a program that we’ve had for a long time and it’s great community support for those in need and it’s been a success year after year,” said Toni Larson, executive director at the Waseca Neighborhood Service Center.

The sign up for the Christmas basket will be available soon and anyone interested can call the Waseca food shelf for more information. Christmas baskets are supported by iWealth and community donations and are filled with Christmas meal favorites.

Both the Thanksgiving baskets and the Christmas baskets can be picked up at the Waseca food shelf and will be placed in the vehicles as people arrive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the Santa Anonymous program offered by the Waseca Area Neighborhood Service Center.

For more than 25 years, the Boxcar Bar in Waseca, in conjunction with the Neighborhood Service Center, has held an auction to raise funds to purchase toys for the Santa anonymous program. This year, because of COVID-19 the auction is canceled. However, the program will take place this year because the auction’s funds go toward the next year’s program. People can still make donations at the Boxcar Bar or the food shelf for the program.

In the past, the auction has raised between $20,000-$25,000 and is continuously growing. This donation will be greatly missed, but the organizers are hopeful to do a potential auction in the summer of 2021.

“It’s a great program,” Boxcar owner Todd Schmidt said. “It’s taken care of a lot of kids and over the years we’ve had the response. People know it’s a great program, I’m very glad that at least from last year’s auction, that we can still have Santa Anonymous this year.”

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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