Thanks to Give brings holiday home |

Thanks to Give brings holiday home

Thanks to Give volunteers Carrie and her daughter Bella Hall don their festive attire while bringing Thanksgiving meals Thursday morning to homes in Grass Valley. A team of community volunteers delivered meals and flowers across the region.
Photo: Elias Funez

It was a happy Thanksgiving indeed for 155 residents in western Nevada County this year as Thanks to Give delivered a savory supper after the COVID-19 pause last year to elderly, disabled and isolated singles.

“I think it was just the kind of tone of the community, and with all the vaccinations and protocols, we felt like we could safely restart,” said Melody King, director of the nonprofit’s meal delivery. “Luckily I joined forces with my mom, Patsy Hannebrink, and my 8-year-old daughter, Mckenna, to relieve some of the stress.”

“I checked people in and helped my mom to do stuff,” added McKenna.

Twelve-year-old Josh Kelso helps direct Thanks to Give volunteers after helping to pack their vehicles with food at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building.
Photo: Elias Funez


Many of the meal-to-go-bags were assembled Wednesday night and final food prep done in the kitchen of the Veterans Memorial Hall, which donated the space, King said.

“We couldn’t have done it without all the volunteers, 25 and another 20 from Twin Cities Church and 35 drivers — so many eager people that made it easy,” she said. “And we want to give a shout out to SPD Market for the cooked turkey dinners, Foothills Flowers for the floral bouquets and the volunteers who made the Thanksgiving Day cards.”

Meals on Wheels, which does not not do holiday meal deliveries, furnished the names of recipients. Especially helpful were Cynthia Martin and Charity Bryson of Meals on Wheels.

The $1,500 expense was covered mostly by individual donations. The volunteers were the backbone of the meal delivery operation. Drivers Perry Blake and Constance Reeve came down from Nevada City for their first time to help Thanks to Give.

“We wanted to reach out and help the community,” said Reeve. “We hoped to bring some seasonal cheer.”

Grass Valley volunteer Donna Hicks was enjoying a visit from her daughter, Caitlin Donaldson, who arrived from San Lorenzo with her two daughters Ella and Claire Donaldson. It was Hicks’ fist time with Thanks to Give; she is a long-time volunteer with the county Food Bank. “Today, we think it’s a good thing to do,” she said.

Meals containing all the Thanksgiving fixin’s were included in the Thanks to Give meals.
Photo: Elias Funez

Another driver, Christy Canale, recalled every time she volunteered in the past she was told by an event organizer that the ranks were at capacity.

“But this time I did a Facebook search of where I could volunteer,” she said. “I just heard about Thanks to Give this week. I hope to put a smile on some people’s faces and hopefully in their hearts.”

First-time distribution volunteer Brandi Nichols learned of the meal delivery by checking out The Union’s e-edition last month. Her family’s Thanksgiving plans did not require a drive outside town, and she thought volunteering would be the neighborly thing to do.

“It’s not far and only a few hours in the morning,” she said. “We’re going to just have a small family dinner in Auburn this year. I did most of my cooking yesterday. We’ll just chill at home and relax in our turkey coma.”

Patty Schmidt, another driver, said her son is out of town visiting her daughter in Oregon, so she’ll be working as manager of His and Hers, a clothing store in downtown Grass Valley, on Black Friday.

“I’m doing this to give kindness and pay it forward, “she said. “I’ve been given so much — good opportunity and good vibes.”

Similarly, driver, Lori Thompson explained, “Thanksgiving is a time to spread your blessings. I’m getting together with family in California. The whole idea is to share your time, talent and gifts.”

Thanks to Give volunteers carry bags of Thanksgiving meals out for delivery to more than 150 people.
Photo: Elias Funez

Melody King was a volunteer for Thanks to Give when the originators, Nancy Zeno-Hamilton and Francis Hamilton, started the charity. Four years ago, when they wanted to take a break to spend more time with family at the holiday, King took over to sustain its benefits to the community despite the disappointment of the COVID interruption last year.

“This year has been a success, we never missed a beat and COVID didn’t really hamper us. We picked right back up,” she said. “The American Legion provided us the space. It was very generous, and they’re a delight to work with.”

Thanks to Give volunteer Josh Kelso carries Thanksgiving meals out to vehicles ready to deliver them Thursday morning.
Photo: Elias Funez

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at

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