Social worker to serve as liaison for free Thanksgiving dinner


Helen Best is enjoying a bowl of tortilla soup, but her mind is on turkey and ham.

One of the best-known social workers in Hood County, Best’s thoughts are never far from the clients she loves and serves. And that is why she is talking about Thanksgiving dinner while having a Mexican food lunch with the Hood County News at Mi Familia restaurant.

Best is the go-between for customers of Monarch Utilities who qualify for “Project Wishbone” – an initiative to provide free Thanksgiving dinners to those who otherwise might not have one. Monarch Utilities, L.P., is a subsidiary of SouthWest Water Company.

Best, who spearheads the weekly food pantry at Oak Trail Shores and is the outreach coordinator for Ruth’s Place free medical clinic, is excited about Project Wishbone. Oftentimes, she said, holiday food baskets contain “little pressed hens” that are not enough to feed families. But that’s not the case with Project Wishbone.

“These are turkeys and real baking hams with bones – the good kind,” she said.

About 200 local Monarch customers who qualify will be given the free Thanksgiving dinners. Neighborhoods in Hood County that are served by Monarch include Rancho Brazos, Comanche Cove and Heritage Heights, she said.

Those receiving the food are given their choice of a turkey or ham. They are also given yams, green vegetables, cornbread mix, stuffing mix, instant mashed potatoes, gravy, canned pumpkin and cranberry sauce.

Monarch customers do not have to be current on their bills in order to receive the dinners – another aspect of the program that Best appreciates.

Best said that Monarch customers will soon receive flyers informing them of the service and containing Best’s contact information.

Feeding as many as 140 families per week at the food pantry at OTS, the social worker is aware of the need.

“One time I had to close (the food pantry) because I ran out of food,” she said.

Never is there a morsel remaining when the food pantry closes.

Said Best: “I give it all away.”

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