News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 20, 2013

A hearty holiday meal

Charities give away 200 hams, bread, fruit to brighten up the season with a full meal

TERRE HAUTE — Cindy Drengacs, Keith Jeffers and Tracy Fuqua truly appreciated the donation of ham and food that they received Friday for their Christmas meal.

The trio from Shepardsville shared a ride to Terre Haute to participate in the giveaway sponsored by B&S Plumbing and Heating, Catholic Charities of Terre Haute and United Way of the Wabash Valley.

“It’s really hard to feed a family of six people with a fixed income,” Drengacs said. “This is a wonderful thing that they’re doing. There are so many people who are having to do without.”

For the second straight year, B&S owners Bill and Sally Stewart purchased hams to donate to those who came to Ryves Hall at Catholic Charities of Terre Haute, starting at 9 a.m. A long line formed along 14th Street around Locust as needy people patiently waited to receive the hams.

Each person also received a loaf of bread, a bag of fruit, a bag of cranberries and boxes of crackers to supplement their food supply.

“I was only expecting a ham, so everything else is a bonus,” said Fuqua, who said she caught a ride with her neighbors to save on fuel. “The fruit’s nice because that’s hard to come by. It’s hard to eat even somewhat healthy.”

The Stewarts purchased 200 hams this year, an increase from last year’s 150 ham donation.

“Our family has been extremely blessed with good fortune,” Sally said, “and we feel we should give back. If every business in town did something like this, it would take care of a lot of people.”

She commended store owner Bob Baesler of Baesler’s Market for providing the hams at cost, as he did last year.

The Stewarts and their adult children spoke with the people as they passed through the line, offering encouragement along with the food.

“It’s really good for our whole family to see the need in the community,” Sally said, noting that it may be easier to write a check and donate money for the project, but it is important to have personal contact with the community.

Jennifer Buell, development director at Catholic Charities, said the food bank has seen an increase in need during the past year.

“Last year, there were only 150 hams given out, but they increased it this year because we all saw the demand and knew there is more need in the community,” Buell said.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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