Written by Alexis Weber, Manager of Bread of Life Food Pantry
In 2016 when I first met Xander Hill, he was 13 years old and I was just getting acclimated to my job at the Bread of Life Food Pantry in Etna. He asked to volunteer on Wednesday evenings, and I really needed the help!
Xander was a student at Blessed Trinity Academy and a Boy Scout - both pluses in my book - so I agreed. Thus began a remarkable journey together in trying to help feed the families in Etna and the surrounding communities.
Xander helped load groceries into family's cars and the families just loved him. He was kind, considerate, and always smiling. One evening as we waited for his mother, Amy, to pick him up, he asked if he could collect food and drop it off each month, which he did for months.
Our journey took a different path in 2018 when Xander asked if he could provide turkeys for our families for Thanksgiving. That year he brought 10 turkeys and other food items for our families.
In 2019, Xander approached me with a plan to provide 50 full turkey dinners which included potatoes, gravy, stuffing, vegetables, rolls, butter and of course a pie! We spoke about this tremendous undertaking, but he reassured me his family would help. That November, the Hill Family - including Amy, Mark, Maddie and Xander - arrived in a van with all that was promised! Our families never had such a great Thanksgiving! The turkeys were huge and the fixin’ bags beautifully packed.
And so began the tradition at the Bread of Life Food Pantry: The Xander Hill Turkey Project. The entire Hill family, including extended family members and friends, spend months obtaining pledges for money or turkeys, scanning food flyers, and looking for sales. It is truly a labor of love.
This year Xander, Amy, and Maddie delivered 62 turkeys and all the fixins’ to the food pantry in time to help us feed 161 families for Thanksgiving. We salute Xander, Amy, Mark, Maddie, and all of their family and friends who continue to bring seasonal happiness and a great bounty to the families we serve at the pantry. They are indeed the family that keeps on giving.