5,000 families will have holiday meals this year

This is part of Operation Christmas Basket

5,000 families will have holiday meals this year

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of Memphians will now have the chance to enjoy a home cooked holiday meal thanks to an annual giveaway.

FOX13 spent the morning at Operation Christmas Basket headquarters.

“They get 9 cans of vegetables, between peas, corn, we’ve got paper towels,” said Gayle Rose, co-chair of Team Max Operation Christmas Basket.

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Rose was proud of her accomplishment.

In her 11 years at Team Max Operation Christmas Basket, this is their largest giveaway yet.

“For me, it’s very personal because the whole organization I founded 11 years ago was in memory of my son, Max, who I lost at Christmastime,” she said.

Volunteers came out to giveaway holiday meals to 5,000 families as part of Operation Christmas Basket.
Volunteers came out to giveaway holiday meals to 5,000 families as part of Operation Christmas Basket.

Operation Christmas Basket operates like a well-oiled machine.

This year, they moved from the convention center to the Mid-South Food Bank.

In total, they’re providing 5,000 families with a holiday meal they may not have had otherwise.

“I was up at 3:30 this morning and got out here before 5, there were already people waiting,” Rose said. “The police said they started lining up around midnight, which about breaks my heart.”

Turkeys and chickens are paid for at-cost.

All the other fixings are donated, filling boxes with everything a family could need to make their Christmas merry and bright.

“I want to say thank you, and Merry Christmas,” said Bianca Patton, a participant.

“We help feed the homeless and those that are on the streets, clothe them, and whatever else we can do for the community,” said Francine Freeman, another participant.

Freeman wasn’t even there for herself but was collecting a box to serve others.

“It’s going to mean a whole lot because I love to cook and I love to feed people,” Freeman said. “And I like for them to eat what I cook.”

Operation Christmas Basket is one day only.

The participants are decided ahead of time by organizations that work with the needy.