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Nonprofits across Cache Valley are teaming up to make Thanksgiving meals for families and residents that cannot afford it themselves.

United Way, Justserve.org, Utah Artisan Mercantile and the Cache Valley Humanitarian Center will be gathering donated food items to cook a homemade meal and deliver it on Thanksgiving. Jimmy Birman, the executive director of United Way of Cache Valley, said that nearly 800 people have volunteered to help and about 150 deliveries have been requested.

“We know a lot of people have had a hard time this past year and even in 2020,” he said.

While Birman noted that many businesses in Cache Valley offer free Thanksgiving dinners, their project is different because the meals are being hand-delivered.

“We’re trying to do something different for people that maybe are hurting and don’t want to express their hurt out in public,” he added. “They can just have Thanksgiving with their families and feel the love of the community.”

The project, called Hearts to Home, was started by Liz Butcher, founder of Utah Artisan Mercantile, a cafe on Utah State campus. She contacted Birman to help put a group together that would be “bigger and better for the community” due to the challenges faced the past year.

“People have been asking since September, ‘Hey, when are you doing the Thanksgiving dinner, we want to be a part of it this year,’” Butcher said. “It creates memories; it creates all these great things for people.”

Last year, Butcher teamed up with Cache Coffee to deliver Thanksgiving meals. They delivered over 180 meals to nearly a thousand people.

“It’s blowing up,” she said. “We have a bunch of great people doing great things for this valley.”

JustServe.org will be spearheading volunteer efforts. A link to the JustServe project is available on unitedwayofcachevalley.org.

The Cache Valley Humanitarian Center has also supplied volunteers and is helping to get the word out.

“We contacted all of our community partners to let them know that this event was occurring and if they had families or individuals that they felt would be appropriate to receive a free Thanksgiving meal delivered to their home,” said Dwight Whittaker, the Cache Valley Humanitarian Center board president.

The Humanitarian Center will also help make and deliver the meals and has been in contact with grocery stores and other food sources to collect donations.

Sign ups must be completed by Friday, Nov. 15, and can be done by calling (702)354-8412 or visiting unitedwayofcachevalley.org.

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