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Dinner baskets make Thanksgiving even happier

Cub Scout Alex Ruiz (left) pack 643 den leader Curtis Holloway fill shopping cart with donated bags food during holiday

Cub Scout Alex Ruiz (left) and pack 643 den leader Curtis Holloway fill a shopping cart with donated bags of food during a holiday food drive at Cermak Fresh Market on Saturday, November 17, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 22, 2012 6:08AM

AURORA — David Burnette is one of many Americans who found himself unemployed in a struggling economy.

Burnette, Elgin resident, has been laid off from his job as a tow truck driver and mechanic.

He traveled to Cermak Fresh Market in Aurora over the weekend to receive free Thanksgiving dinner items, thanks to an event called A-Thanks-Giving Dinner Basket Give Away.

“I wanted to make sure I had something to give my son for Thanksgiving,” Burnette said of young David Jr. “He’s 4-years-old. So, I didn’t want him being out there hungry.”

5 Breads and 2 Fish Food Pantry Missionaries, based in Aurora, ran the event.

Attendees had been pre-screened based on need.

People waited behind shopping carts as volunteers packed bags of the makings of a Thanksgiving feast, including turkey, green beans, stuffing mix, corn, instant mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie mix.

Auroran Martha Lopez paused behind her cart of food and called it “a blessing.”

Her 12-year-old son, Rodolfo Peña, said he was looking forward to eating his mom’s stuffing.

“She’s good,” Rodolfo said with a smile.

Those turning out for the food basket giveaway had another reason to feel good — several health care professionals also were on hand for the day. Vendors provided health and job information and services ranging from free health insurance to free phone usage.

Isabel Gutierrez of Bright Dental in Aurora offered dental information and blue, turquoise, purple and silver toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss.

Diana Ruiz of Mind and Body Chiropractic in Aurora provided information and back massages.

“I’m lovin’ it,” said Tina Crowder of Aurora as she kneeled on the massage chair.

Crowder has grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to 12 living with her. She was laid off and without a job for two years.

Crowder anticipates the Thanksgiving meal will last her family three days.

“I got little grandkids,” she said. “So, they don’t eat that much.”

Dajah Wilson of Naperville won a $50 Cermak grocery pass. She said she bought chicken, pork chops, broccoli, cereal and yogurt.

“It was awesome to win something that I didn’t have to pay for,” Wilson said laughing.

“I had the happy dance going,” said Wilson, who had been laid off from her job. And she plans to “stretch” the food she received for a week and a half.

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