The Maple Grove Lions and Maple Grove Firefighters Relief Association joined forces at one of the local fire stations to assemble food baskets for those in need in the community and surrounding area on Dec. 19. This was the group’s 40th year of putting this together. A total of 156 needy families were treated to a generous supply of food and staples for the holidays, worth around $200 per basket.

Maple Grove Lions publicity chair Phil Leith said, “This was truly a community effort, with the Lions and Relief Association contributing toward the cost of the food.”

This year was different due to COVID-19, as numerous new guidelines had to be followed to keep everyone safe, which meant limiting the number of Lions and firefighters, and also no extra volunteers from the community.

The need was still there, if not greater, so a way to put this annual event on had to be found, according to Leith. The food was supplied by Cub Foods, who also helped defray some of the costs by donating 625 boxes needed for the food baskets, and throwing in some extra food items where possible. Malark Logistics donated the use of a truck to transport the food.

After the baskets were packed, various local churches and other organizations showed up to deliver the food to those in need. Another COVID-19 casualty was the annual breakfast prepared by The Lookout Bar and Grill for all the volunteers, where the proceeds of the breakfast would go to help local families in need for the holidays.

“We are all looking forward to 2021 and getting back to the traditional way of doing things, but so glad we were still able to do this and help those in need,” Leith said.

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