The morning of Wednesday, November 19, marked the 37th Holiday Basket Giveaway in Milwaukee sponsored by Hupy and Abraham, S.C. The giveaway allows people who are unable to afford the ingredients themselves to create a standard, traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Basket assembling was already underway with event organizer Tiaysha Bradshaw giving instructions to the volunteers. She later explained how the giveaway came to be. “This all stemmed from my grandmother. Attorney Hupy was sponsoring a radio program that she was running and when she passed, my mother decided to take over. My mother was in the social work field and wanted to give back to the community, so she pitched the idea of giving holiday baskets through the radio program. We started in 1996. My mother passed away in 2009, and I called Hupy and Abraham to ask if I could continue. They told me that as long as I wanted to keep doing it, we would continue to in my mother’s name.”
Hupy and Abraham shareholder Attorney Chad Kreblin was present to assist with the baskets, which feed at least eight people.
|Attorney Kreblin with the Holiday Basket volunteers.
“We have been doing this meal program for 19 years now. Many different programs that we do during the year help people. However, sometimes we don’t get the personal connection with the people that we help. The reason why this program is so nice is because it’s grassroots, and we’re actually meeting the people we’re helping,” Attorney Kreblin said. “It’s also special because this time of year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when families get together. This program allows families to make meals and create moments together -- it helps build the community.”
Two types of baskets were available to recipients -- a ham basket and a turkey basket -- both including many other items for a full and hearty meal. The giveaway originally had 100 people signed up for the baskets, but Tiaysha explained that Hupy and Abraham noticed the need had grown, and added 20 more baskets for this year’s event.
Attorney Kreblin said this about the expansion, “We are going to have to assess things as we go along. What we found a couple of years ago is that the need was much greater than we were able to provide for, so we’ve expanded the program. On top of doing this program in Milwaukee, the firm participates with several organizations in other markets and donates to food banks. The help that we provide around the holidays feeds over 10,000 people. We’re proud of the program and are looking forward to expanding it even more.”
Meanwhile, Tiaysha gestured toward the assembly area
-- where volunteers laughed and bonded while bagging turkeys, hams, and assembling the boxes. “All the volunteers here have been here since 1996,” she said.
Charles, the assistant pastor at a local church, has been a volunteer for the past fifteen years. “There is a great need to feed the hungry in the community and we thank Hupy and Abraham for being so gracious in serving this community. We are so thankful that they chose this group to do it. We get a lot of joy for doing this.”
Volunteers come from different organizations and are together only twice a year. The remarkable thing being that they still worked like a well-oiled machine.
A woman named Nancy, bundled up for the morning chill, received her first holiday basket this year. She shared that discovering the basket giveaway was a miracle to her. “I was at the laundromat and I was speaking to one of the ladies there. We were talking about how hard times have been recently, especially with the holidays. She told me of a friend of hers that provides food for the less fortunate. I have no income. She took my contact info and that’s why I’m here.”
When asked about her plans for the holiday, she laughed and said, “I’m going to fix this food up and invite my daughter over for dinner. She had been planning to bring some Puerto Rican food, but now I can tell her not to worry. I am so happy and so humbled by this opportunity.”
On her way out, Nancy shared her gratitude with Attorney Kreblin and embraced him before leaving the store. As time passed, people filtered in and out of the giveaway location collecting baskets they needed. Some were so busy that did not have a chance to stop and chat and had to return to the people they helped.
Some people like Nancy took one basket for their family, or some like Maria, a teacher from Longfellow Public School, took multiple baskets for their organizations.
“This program has been helping out our school for several years now. These baskets go to our families that are doubled up and are a part of our homeless education,” Maria said. “Doubled up” refers to multiple families living in the same house. Maria predicted that these baskets would provide for much more than eight people. “The families are very grateful. They really do help because these families are in need. They are appreciative and so are we!”
As the giveaway ended, Attorney Kreblin said his goodbyes to the volunteers and they promised to reunite for the Christmas basket giveaway in a few weeks.
He had one parting thought to share, “One of the cornerstones that our firm was founded upon is giving back to the communities we serve, and doing well by doing good. This program is just another example of how we can help out the community, and to give back to those that we’ve served over the years. We’re honored to be sponsors of this program.”
Hupy and Abraham has given over $500,000 to over 100 worthwhile causes in the past 3 years and would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.