Down the Assembly Line

Edina Rotary Club celebrates Thanksgiving a different way.

This Thanksgiving, members of the Rotary Club of Edina and their families will be gathering not to eat a large meal, but to prepare meals for others in the community.

Since 2000, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving becomes basket assembly day, when Rotarians and their families assemble baskets containing a 15-pound turkey, mashed potatoes, fruit, other canned food, pie and mittens for an entire family. Rotarians work assembly-line-style to put together the food, and about 75 families receive the baskets each year, personally delivered by Rotarians and their families.

“The best part of it is the kids and grandkids get to see how other people live that they are not familiar with,” says Michael Stanzak, co-chair of the Thanksgiving basket program. “For a lot of these kids, to go to a tough home is kind of eye-opening.”

Stanzak explains his delight in seeing the mountains of food arrive, get packed and disappear all in one day to go to needy families. The assembly line method is a great way for everybody to pitch in.