Let's talk turkey!

Have you ever been hungry and not had enough money to buy food? Did you ever skip a meal so another family member could eat?

Unfortunately, this is happening right here in Connecticut. You could help make a positive difference. For the last 17 years, a number of volunteers have been feeding children in need. Lydia M. Child said, "An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves."

You're invited to join us for the 2010 Thanksgiving Basket Brigade! It will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20. We could use your help that day and we need your donations to help our growing fundraising effort. I tell people that if they come, they will thank me for telling them about this wonderful gathering. Every year, my participation makes me really feel like the holidays are here.

Please meet us at 9 a.m. at our Thanksgiving Basket Brigade location, which is Champ Direct Printing & Mailing, 75 Cascade Boulevard, Milford. Volunteers have been putting together and delivering baskets with all the fixins' to those in need in the greater New Haven/Fairfield area. We work with several agencies to find families in need of assistance. We work with the CCCC (Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis), Yale Child Study Center, Cornerstone, Bella Vista, and The Connecticut Department of Social Services.

One hundred percent of your donations -- every single penny -- will go to purchasing food and toys. All donations are tax deductible. You can go on the website, www.ctbasketbrigade.org, now and donate. A donation of $300 feeds 10 families; $150 feeds five families; and $30 feeds one family. Any donation will help tremendously! The entire overhead is donated.

I trust you will get excited about this project and join me in talking to everyone about it, co-workers, family, friends and neighbors. Invite them to contribute and come help us deliver! When we began in 1993, we provided 100 families with food. We were excited the year we reached a new plateau of feeding 185 families. In 2008 we fed 450 families and last year we feed more than 504 families. This year we are going to feed 650 families. We have distributed more than 46 tons of food directly to those in need!

I thank Dr. John Sottery, who organized the first Basket Brigade in 1993, and Victor Frazao, our facilitator. Our sincere appreciation to Paul Featherston, the owner of Champ Direct, who has donated his facilities to this wonderful cause. His wife Kathleen and their family will also be there to help out. I also want to thank Adams Supermarket at 1301 New Haven Ave., Milford, Stew Leonard's and R.C. Bigelow Inc. for their food contributions. All these wonderful people really make the sprit of the holidays real.

A young man said to me, "Last year was the first time I volunteered to help. It made me realize that I could feel good about giving. I always enjoyed receiving, but giving was also good, yet slightly different. It made me feel like I was contributing. It energized me. It made me feel good about myself. I never realized that giving was like a gift as well. Giving is receiving. It was not only a gift I gave others but also a gift I gave myself."

A. Neilen so correctly stated, "If you have not often felt the joy of doing a kind act, you have neglected much, and most of all yourself."

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Victor Frazao at 203-258-3888 or victor@frazao.com.

Lionel Ketchian, the founder of the Happiness Club and a happiness coach, can be reached at PrintLRK@aol.com. The website is www.HappinessClub.com