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Creative Thanksgiving baskets help those in need

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 21 2013 03:54:13 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 21 2013 04:33:12 PM CST

Food drives are fairly common this time of year, but one company's effort just might take the cake for creativity.

EASTON, Pa. -

Food drives are fairly common this time of year, but one company's effort just might take the cake for creativity. It all starts with a laundry basket.

"We asked them if they can put some kind of creative spin on it," said Cheryl Smith, vice president of operations for RMS, a call center in Bethlehem. "Just so that it makes it a little more interesting for the family to receive it."

This is no ordinary canned food drive. Employees at RMS, an iQor company, have been working for months to decorate Thanksgiving gift baskets. Each one includes a complete dinner.

"In the beginning, you just see laundry baskets everywhere and the final projects are really, really cool," said Mark Dobson, an employee.

"We got together and we decided to just write down some different ideas," added Latoya Keys, a member of the 2012 winning team.

"We made a boom box because our team is ASCAP," said employee Janairi Rodriguez. "ASCAP represents music and they're writers, so we decided it would only be appropriate for us to work with music."

From movie characters to Santa, wishing wells, hot air balloons and even video games, employees know a special touch now means a lot for a family in need later.

"It's really overwhelming, the outpouring of support and generosity with our employees every time we do this," added Smith.

Organizers said the hardest part is loading all those baskets into vehicles. It took 10 cars to deliver everything to the Easton Area Neighborhood Center.

"Without them, we wouldn't be able to meet the need in the community," said Terry Roman, executive director at the Easton Area Neighborhood Center.

One-hundred-eight baskets filled the community room.

"It's very easy to write a check sometimes and make a donation," said Roman. "But to actually put your time and energy and your thought into doing something like this."

"On behalf of the Easton Area Neighborhood Center, I don't want to cry, and the community which we serve, we thank you guys from the bottom of our hearts,” said one worker at the EANC.

And the feeling of helping those in need will last a lifetime.

"Everybody should be able to celebrate every holiday," added Keys.