For more than 350 families struggling to make ends meet, the annual Mary McGuire Thanksgiving Food Box outreach program is a more welcome respite than ever.

“I can’t believe the need this year for food boxes,” said Donna Karr, a member of the Holy Name of Jesus Human Concerns Committee. The drive is coordinated every year by the combined human concerns committees of the Sheboygan North Side Catholic Parishes, which include St. Dominic, St. Clement and Holy Name of Jesus. Blessed Trinity Parish in nearby Sheboygan Falls also provides support for the event, along with the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“More people are out of work, and some of them, I think, are afraid to go to work because of the pandemic,” said Karr.

More than 460 requests came in for food boxes this year. On Saturday, Nov. 21, the group will deliver 375 boxes containing ham, fresh fruit and vegetables, a pumpkin pie, other special food items and a $10 Piggly Wiggly gift card. Families who do not receive boxes will instead receive a $35 gift card to Piggly Wiggly.

The food box program is named for the St. Clement parishioner and Vincentian who founded it two decades ago. She passed away in 2016.

A trademark of the food box program is homemade cookies prepared and donated by parishioners, but that will have to be discontinued for this year, said Karr.

Home deliveries will still be offered this year, but curbside pickup will also be available.

“With the help of God, we want to be safe and we want to help people during this pandemic,” said Karr.