Updated: Saturday, 17 Nov 2012, 7:59 PM EST
Published : Saturday, 17 Nov 2012, 7:08 PM EST
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- It's "bagging weekend" at the Casa Community Center in New Haven. All the fixin's for a good, home-cooked Thanksgiving feast will be sorted and shipped out. It is a lot of work.
"Yeah, it is," said Ben Rigby of Redding. "There's a lot of heavy boxes, yeah, early in the morning, you know, a lot of heavy boxes, but it's well worth it."
Those here to do the heavy lifting are youth groups from churches in Cheshire and Redding. For them, this has become an annual tradition.
"Coming here and being able to make sure that people who sometimes go without are able to have that staple part of Thanksgiving, I think is really, really important," said Dora Rice of Redding.
Because even though Thanksgiving isn't a religious holiday, the idea of giving back is so spiritual.
"There is an ethic of gratitude that transcends any one denomination or religious community," said Pastor Jeff Braun from First Congregational of Cheshire , "and I think this is about being grateful and out of that sense of gratitude comes the desire to give."
Coming together as a community, being grateful for abundance and sharing with those who are suffering through leaner times. It's all organized by Christian Community Action. News 8 is a proud sponsor and for the first year Blum Shapiro -- both their employees and clients -- pitched in.
"The response has been amazing," said Tom Andrea from BlumShapiro . "We'll have 50 volunteers here today, 30 more volunteers tomorrow and it's that kind of involvement that is the core of what we do in our communities."
And the need is great for the families, seniors and disabled residents who will now have a real meal.
"We anticipated about 1,700 families, that's what we served in the past," said Albert May from Christian Community Action , "but this year it's definitely up to 2,000 already and maybe even a little higher by the time we get done with this project next week, and it's the economy."
If you'd like to help they still need non-perishable food items. They are taking all those donations until Sunday afternoon. You can come to the Casa Community Center on Sylvan Avenue in New Haven. They also always need financial contributions, and you can contribute by going to www.ccahelping.org .