Thanksgiving Basket Blessing

November 20, 2017

By Chip Underhill

Baskets filled with complete Thanksgiving dinners overflowed the altar of the Abbey Church at the annual Thanksgiving Basket Blessing on November 20. Since 2004, the Saint Anselm College community has donated over 1,000 full Thanksgiving dinners to the needy, with turkey, stuffing, sides, desserts and much more.

Following a Litany of Thanks by Brother Stephen acknowledging “overwhelming generosity,” Abbott Matthew Leavy, O.S.B. noted in his blessing that “the food arranged in a circle around our altar is given from every corner of our community.” The 2017 Thanksgiving Basket Blessing was given to a total of 145 baskets, according to Joycelin Raho, assistant director of Campus Ministry at Saint Anselm College.

Karen Moynihan of Catholic Charities expressed her gratitude for “such an outpouring; it is truly a sight to behold.” Monyihan was joined by Mary Ann Fraser of Catholic Charities, who remarked that she works directly with the families who receive the Thanksgiving baskets, adding that 35 families will receive a [Saint Anselm] basket for the first time, and first-time recipients “always have a look of awe on their faces.” Velma McLurie, executive director of the Merrimack Valley Assistance Program also spoke of the great benefit to the families served by her organization.

Remarking on the generosity of the college community, Dr. Steven DiSalvo, President, Saint Anselm College, commented that, “Saint Anselm College is focused on what is good and what is right.” In an acknowledgment of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, he encouraged those in attendance to “Hug your parents, children and relatives. Hug them hard. Turn off your cell phone and do a good deed for someone.”