At Thanksgiving, we give thanks for family, we eat in excess, we celebrate traditions and count calories our blessings. We watch football, we doze and we prepare for Black Friday. But what about those special people in our lives who may not be related to us but are ever as important? Well, my sweet and talented friend Lauren and her husband Andrew, whom you have been hearing from as we tackle Summer Ave. together, started a little tradition of their own in an effort to extend Lauren’s most favorite holiday to incorporate friends and the only thing better than turkey… FRIED turkey! My husband and I were so honored to have a seat at the table among such special friends.
Lauren, always the hostess with the most-est truly outdid herself at this feast. Not only did she slave away in the kitchen to recreate many of her family’s prized recipes, but she set the most beautiful table (for 25 I might add!) I’ve ever seen. With a fire crackling in the fireplace, their lovely new home was the perfect setting for a table stretching the length of the family room, covered in burlap that Lauren found at a fabric store and decorated with crisp green and white flowers, grouped together in mason jars and illuminated by tons of little mixed votives.
The price of admission: bring one of your family’s traditional Thanksgiving menu items (double the recipe) and a donation for the Memphis Union Mission. Being time and otherwise challenged in the kitchen, I contributed wine and Sister Schubert’s rolls (both traditions at my family’s Thanksgiving table so I wasn’t cheating, really!). Each couple brought a little bit of their own unique family flavor to the table and, thanks to Lauren’s beautiful idea to help the less fortunate as we revel in the abundance of God’s blessings, donations of coats, personal hygiene items and food was collected.
We feasted on fried turkeys done earlier that evening by Lauren’s dad, mac n’ cheese, a colorful salad, and different takes on corn pudding, sweet potato casserole and dressing. For dessert, pick your poison: fudge pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie or the Christina’s perfect pumpkin cheesecake! Here are a few easy recipes for your Thanksgiving table from our Friends Thanksgiving Celebration. We’ve taste-tested and 100% approve!
Green Bean Casserole with Williams Hot Sausage
A twist on the American classic…. Recipe from Lauren’s Mimi
– Two Large cans of Green Beans
– 1 lb. Williams Hot Sausage
– One can of Cream of Mushroom soup
– One can of Cream of Celery Soup
– Sharp Cheddar Cheese
– French Fried Onions
Season and cook green beans for 30 minutes and then drain well. Cook the sausage, drain well and crumble. Layer all ingredients and cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. With about 5-10 minutes to go add the cheese and fried onions.
Super easy and delicious…. Recipe from Paula Dean
– One 15 1/4 -ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
– One 14 3/4- ounce can cream-style corn
– One 8 ounce package of Jiffy corn mix
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1/2 cup of melted butter
In a large bowl, stir together the two cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and butter. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown.
Nashville Fudge Pie
– 1/2 cup butter, melted
– 1 cup of sugar
– 1 tsp. of vanilla
– 1/4 tsp. of salt
– 2 eggs
– 1/4 cup of flour
– 3 tbsp. of cocoa powder
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Watch carefully though….Warning: do not overcook!
As we wobbled to our cars feeling full of love and companionship, past the heaping pile of donations we all contributed for the Memphis Union Mission, we were reminded that for many Memphians, the forecast for the holiday season does not look as merry and bright. It is in this spirit that Lauren and I have included some simple ways that each one of us can do a little bit to help our neighbors as they cope with the devastating effects of poverty, hunger and homelessness this holiday season. Although I am sure we are barely scratching the surface of organizations that help those in need in Memphis, hopefully we have provided you with a good list to get you started.
Memphis Union Mission
Main: (901) 526-8403
Urgently-needed items: Socks, underwear, coats, blankets, toiletry items, or non-perishable food. Donation items can be dropped off at the Men’s Emergency at 383 Poplar Ave., or to schedule a pickup, please contact Ruth Malone at (901) 526-8403.
“Warm Coats + Warm Hearts” Coat Drive
Partnership with Burlington Coat Factory
Drop off your gently-used coats at any Burlington Coat Locations now through January 16th.
Christmas Care Packages
For each person you wish to help, get a shoe box and fill it with a variety of items, including: briefs or boxers, socks, toboggans, gloves, candy, chewing gum, Bibles, and toiletry items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, anti-bacterial wipes, shampoo, and lotion. Please wrap each box with Christmas wrapping paper and drop them off by Wednesday, December 21.
Mid-South Food Bank
239 South Dudley
Memphis, TN 38104
Phone: (901) 527-0841
**Turkey’s Needed!!! Mid-South Food Bank needs 5,000 frozen turkeys donated by Thanksgiving. Please bring donations to 239 S. Dudley or you can make a donation of at least $15 per turkey on their secure site. They are always accepting non-perishable food items and are in need of volunteers to help with the Food Bank Pantry, Food for Kids Backpack Program and the Kids Cafe.
Holiday Gift Bags for Seniors
Donations needed: 11” x 14” gift bags, blanket, stationery, postage stamps, winter cap, sweater, t-shirt, socks (regular or non-skid), mittens or gloves, puzzles/crossword puzzles/dominos, lotion, flashlight, lap robe, hygiene products. No candy, please. Deadline for donations is December 9. For more information, contact Ethel Taylor at (901) 529-4580 or [email protected]
Holiday Hope Chest
Agape Child and Family Services, Inc.
111 Racine Street
Secret Santa Toy Drive
G.R.O.W. A Junior League of Memphis Initiative
Help donate for a Holiday Shopping Opportunity for the families in the G.R.O.W program where parents can pick out an item for their child and children can pick out an item for their parents/siblings, etc. Suggested donations: beauty products, household products, clothing (men’s and women’s), purses, hygiene products for men, tools, books, cd’s, dvd’s, games, toys, baseball hats, and socks.
Memphis Family Shelter 901. 278.2728
In need of the following items: household cleaning products, linens and paper products.
To God Be The Glory Ministries 901.550.9530
In need of non-perishable foods, gift cards (Kroger, Dollar Store, Walgreens), personal hygiene products, coats, socks and shoes.
Food and clothes donations are needed at the following neighborhood churches and charities:
Brinkley Heights Baptist Church
3277 Rosamond Ave.
Memphis, TN 38122
Catholic Charities, Inc.
Memphis, TN 38104
Christ the Rock Metro Church
8800 Winchester Road
Memphis, TN 38125
Church of the Holy Names
697 Keel Ave.
Memphis, TN 38107
Highland Heights United Methodist Church
3476 Summer Ave.
Memphis, TN 38122
First Works, Inc.
Food pantry and clothing needed. Twice weekly during the school year, the children are picked up by the FirstWorks bus, brought in for a hot, nutritious meal, then participate in academic lessons, life-skill initiatives, tutoring, and assistance in completing class projects. FirstWorks also provides back to school uniforms and backpacks with grade level school supplies, which are replenished every six weeks.
Gobble, gobble everyone!