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Rescue squad brings Christmas dinner to needy families

MORRISONVILLE - The underprivileged who live within the Morrisonville Rescue Squad District weren't forgotten during the holiday season.

Rescue squad members continued the tradition of assembling food baskets during the holidays, a tradition in existence since 2005, said critical care technician Donna Bodette. The effort began with Thanksgiving baskets but eventually changed to Christmas dinner baskets bearing in mind the same principle of helping the less fortunate during what can be a tough time of year.

"We've been doing this for four years now," said Bodette, who credited fellow critical care technician Melody Stevens for being a driving force behind the effort. "Back then, we decided we wanted to make it a yearly thing."

"That year, we made apple pies. My husband and I were up all night long making them from scratch," recalled Stevens.

The labor of love was worth it, she said, though this year, rescue squad members were limited in the amount of time they could put into preparing the baskets, which also included hams, fruits and vegetables.

"This year, with working and it being very time consuming, we got the apples and gave them the recipe for apple crisps," said Bodette.

Bodette and Stevens said by providing the recipe to basket recipients, it also gave families an activity to do together. In all, 15 baskets were assembled, including baskets coordinated through local humanitarian Dave Justus for two victims of domestic violence.

"That was special," said Stevens, referring to teaming up with Justus for the donations he coordinated.

Overall, the number of baskets assembled was comparable to recent years.

"We wanted to do more, but times are hard for everybody," said Stevens.

The rescue squad was still able to get generous donations for the baskets from many local businesses and individuals, Stevens added, particularly thanking the support of Dr. Frank Szmalc and his family. The Szmalcs and others donated their time and resources to make the outreach happen, she said.

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