Memories of holiday meals gathered with family and friends are very uplifting. Can you imagine not being able to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas with all the traditional dishes?

These occasions are a special time for sharing blessings and making memories that last forever. But what happens if you can't afford to purchase the meal? How do you explain to children why you need to skip the meal this year?

The Pine River Area Food Shelf will be putting together holiday bags for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everything from the turkey (possibly ham at Christmas) to the side dishes and dessert will be assembled in bags for needy families. We are asking you to "pay it forward" by helping a hungry family in our community by buying a holiday box for $30.

You will not only be supplying food but also allowing a needy family to gather with loved ones. Families experiencing a special time together is more valuable than what is placed before them on the table.

The reality is the Pine River Area Food Shelf is serving around 160 hungry families representing 375 people each month. We are open two days a week: from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. The second Tuesday each month we are open from 3:30-6 p.m. to accommodate working families.

The need for supplemental food is real in our community, which covers 18 townships and two cities. For only $30 you will be helping another family celebrate together and can add one more blessing to your list. You will certainly be added to our list of blessings.

Please send a holiday meal donation (add "holiday" to your check's memo) to P.O. Box 1, Pine River MN 56474. Call 218-587-4292 if you have any questions.