Valerie Tachenko remembers first making Thanksgiving food boxes when she was 6, and in first grade at the Seventh-day Adventist Christian School.
“And they were doing it before then,” said Tachenko, 65.
In a typical year, the SDA school and church hands out paper food donation bags to the community, collects the donations, then assemble more than 100 baskets that are delivered to families in Baker City the day before Thanksgiving.
This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they can’t go door-to-door to collect food donations.
They will still carry on the tradition, although in a different way.
A donor has provided turkeys for the baskets, but the rest of the food must be purchased this year — approximately $50 worth for each basket to make a Thanksgiving dinner.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help with the cost of buying food. The goal is $5,000, and 100% of the donations will go to the Thanksgiving basket project.
To donate, go to gofundme.com. Search for Seventh-day Adventist Church Thanksgiving Food Drive.
Another option is to donate canned food. A collection box will be set up outside the SDA center, or community members can call the church, leave a message, and have a donation picked up.
The church phone number is 541-523-4913.
Monetary donations can also be mailed to church: 42171 Chico Road, Baker City, OR 97814.
Donations are needed by Nov. 20.
Thanksgiving boxes will be distributed on Nov. 25.
Although this year is a different challenge, Tachenko has faith they will still fulfill their mission of delivering boxes to families.
“God always provides,” she said. “Every year we start at zero, and every year God blesses.”