The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Peetz Woman Blessed by Delivering Blessings


November 27, 2019

Forrest Hershberger

Brandi Klassen is pictured with one of the Thanksgiving baskets given to area families. What started as a concern for a family needing food during her favorite holiday has blossomed into an annual crusade.

In the Bible it says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." A Peetz woman started a program where the giver and the receiver are blessed.

According to the website, more than 200,000 people in Nebraska struggle with hunger; of them, more than 82,000 are children. These are statistics that promote the need for food pantries and collection efforts. When combined with the holiday season, it is also an emotional plea

Brandee Klassen started an effort to be kind, spread some holiday love to people who need it. She also admits Thanksgiving is her favorite time of year.

"Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday," she said recently.

She said she likes the food, the opportunity to spend time with friends and family, and the lack of stress over what presents to buy. She also realized not everyone has a table decorated with pumpkin pie, candied yams and carved turkey. Some families feel like they are racing the mouse for the last crumbs in the cupboard. That reality upset Klassen, and motivated her to action.

She said about six years ago, someone posted that they needed food. They had just lost their jobs, and resources were thin. Klassen reached out to her co-workers who quickly filled the need, and then some.

Since then, the Thanksgiving basket drive has been an annual event.

"Over the years, it has grown exponentially," she said.

She said she learned people love to give when they have a safe avenue to donate.

"They just love it. Everybody is so happy to get on board," she said.

She has a simple philosophy in life, one of compassion for the hungry.

"If you're hungry, I don't care about your walk of life. I will feed you," she said.

Over the years, she has seen others with a similar view on life. This year, one supporter donated the food for five baskets.

"It is so awesome to see the good in people," she says.

There is a lot of work behind getting families a holiday meal. She announces when she starts collecting food, and starts accepting names, contacting agencies at about the same time. The hardest part, emotionally at least, is talking with an individual or family to ensure they need a food basket. She doesn't ask how a household became needy, but if they truly are in need.

"We want to make sure people get it who need it," she said.

It is nearly a one-person effort, with the support of the many donors who have supplied the food, which is the way she likes it. The crusade if you will is small enough to sidestep the complications of bigger programs.

"It's just people helping people," she said.

In the six years of her personal campaign for a holiday of thanks, she has seen people willingly give food and support, and she has seen people's eyes light up with joy when presented with a food basket.

"It makes me feel pretty good. It's great to help people with food," she said.

The part that makes the sweat and dedication worth it, she describes as giving her goosebumps, is the gratitude shown by the recipients. She says many have said "Thank you. God bless you." Then go a step further and say "God bless those who gave."

To support her efforts, reach out to Klassen through her Facebook page.


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