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Thanksgiving Baskets

Elmside School wheels in donations
Elmside School wheels in donations

2016 Thanksgiving Basket Drive

For the past 28 years, GCC’s Thanksgiving Basket Drive has become a tradition, with many long-serving staff volunteers and their children returning year after year to assist with Thanksgiving Basket packing and distribution.

In August and early September, we are focusing on holding food drives and funraising events with the help of community members like you and other partners, like UW Athletics. Please read below about how you can host a food drive.

Needed: Thanksgiving groceries for 3,500!

Could you help feed hungry families by hosting a food drive? Below is a list of grocery items needed to fill 3,500 Thanksgiving Baskets for Dane County residents:

  • 3,500 Frozen Turkeys*
  • 7,000 Vegetables (cans)
  • 7,000 Fruit (cans)
  • 3,500 Mac & Cheese (boxes)
  • 3,500 Gravy (jars)
  • 3,500 Cranberry sauce (cans)
  • 3,500 Broth, any kind (cans)
  • 3,500 Stuffing (boxes)
  • 3,500 Aluminum roaster pans

We'd love to know if you're hosting a food drive for us. Fill out this food drive form below to let us know — or you can also download documents directly from our website. We have an 11x17 poster, an 8.5x11 poster and grocery lists, and a tips and tricks handout for you to print and distribute.

Let us know about your food drive!

Food and frozen turkeys can be dropped off in our gym starting Nov. 15. Check our website in October for times and details.

Donate money

Your gift of money help us buy the fresh foods that are included with each family's Thanksgiving groceries, including frozen turkeys, potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, eggs, milk, butter and rolls. It also allows us to buy items in bulk at a lower cost. To donate to the Thanksgiving Basket Drive, visit our donation page and note "Thanksgiving Baskets" in the giving preferences line.

Give today


If you have questions about the Thanksgiving Basket program, please contact Jon Lica at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-204-8049.

TBASKET Credit Laura Zastrow Photography food driveBecome a corporate sponsor!

Each year, GCC provides Thanksgiving meals to 3,500 households across Dane County (feeding more than 14,000 children and parents annually). We can only achieve this because every year organizations like yours pull together and contribute tremendous amounts of food, money and time to help us organize it all. Give the gift of a holiday meal to families in our community and become a Thanksgiving Basket sponsor. Our parnership with UW Athletics and Badgers Gives Back helps ignite publicity for this program.

Sponsoring the Goodman Community Center's Thanksgiving Basket Drive helps feed 3,500 families — and gives sponsors positive recognition in the community. Read about our corporate sponsorship levels below:

Sponsorship Levels

We'd love to hear from you! If interested, contact Jon Lica at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-204-8049.

Frequently Asked Questions 2015 (2016 will be updated soon)

These questions are most commonly asked about our Thanksgiving Basket Drive.

When is registration?

Monday, Oct. 19 -Sunday, Nov. 8

How do I register? 

Registration is currently closed.

How do I get my basket?

After you register, you will receive a postcard in the mail. Postcards will arrive the week before basket pickup. You must bring this postcard with you to pick up your basket. Thanksgiving Basket pickup is located at the Goodman Community Center at 149 Waubesa Street in Madison. Bus lines close to GCC are 3, 5, 14, 15, 37 and 38. Expect to wait for 15-30 minutes to receive your basket. Basket pick-up is a drive though system. The basket will be loaded into your vehicle. If arriving on foot, please stay on sidewalks and go to the checkin station.

What is included in a Thanksgiving Basket?

This year we will have two basket sizes. This will allow us to provide more people with a Thanksgiving meal.

  • If you are feeding 1-2 people: A turkey (10-12 pounds), stuffing, gravy, canned vegetables, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkin pie and ice cream.
  • If you are feeding 3 or more people: A turkey (10-12 pounds), stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, canned fruit, canned vegetables, green beans, cream soup, fried onions, mac and cheese, a can of broth, dinner rolls, milk, butter, sweet potatoes, potatoes, celery, carrots, eggs, pumpkin pie and ice cream. Items are subject to availability. There may be substitutions. 

Do you have vegetarian or vegan options?

We do not have specific dietary baskets. The baskets should be diverse enough for everyone to find some food they can eat. You are welcome to take out all of the items from the basket you plan to use. If there are items you will not use, please leave them behind so others can benefit from them.

What do I do if I don’t have my postcard?

All postcards should be received by Monday, Nov. 16. If you did not receive your postcard and you signed up for a basket during open registration times, please call Amy Mach at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-204-8027. If you lose your postcard, please bring a photo ID to receive your basket. Please note this will make your pickup time longer.

Can I get my basket delivered?

Unfortunately the Goodman Community Center cannot deliver baskets. However anyone with your postcard can pick up your basket. Bus lines close to GCC: 3, 5, 14, 15, 37 and 38.

What if I cannot pick-up my basket during the time listed on my postcard?

It is very important that you come during your pick-up time. Times are listed to help make sure there are not long wait times to pick-up your basket. Anyone with your postcard can pick up your basket. If it is impossible for you to pick-up during your listed time you can come during another time that baskets are being distributed. Baskets will only be given out during distribution times, no exceptions.

Distribution Times

  • Saturday, Nov. 21 >> 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 22 >> 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 23 >> 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

I have been put on the waitlist. What does that mean?

We can only guarantee so many baskets. Once we reach our maximum number, all other requests will be placed on a waitlist. If you are on the waitlist and we have extra food you will be called on Sunday, Nov. 22. You will then be able to pick up a basket during any of the remaining distribution times.

I no longer need a basket and I’ve already signed up.

We understand that plans change. Any extra food will go be distributed through the Fritz Food Pantry at the Goodman Community Center. There is no need to contact the Center.

I want to host a food drive.

You can sign up for a food drive kit online here, or just bring countdown items to the Center.

Where and when do I drop off donations?

Donations can be dropped off in the Goodman Community Center’s gym.

GCC’s gym is open:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 17 >> 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 18 >> 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 19 >> 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 20 >> 9 a.m -10 p.m. (We strongly prefer donations be dropped off before Friday.)
  • Saturday-Monday, Nov. 21 -23 >> 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

What items are needed for donation?

Items needed are frozen turkeys, canned vegetables, canned fruit, jarred gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, green beans, cream soup, fried onions, broth, mac and cheese and large aluminum roaster pans.

How can I volunteer?

Please contact Kate Katzban-Beren, GCC Volunteer Manager, to inquire about open shifts at 608.204.8056 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thanksgiving Basket 2016 events

Ian's Pizza Dough-nation Night • Wednesday, Nov. 16

Download this handout on your mobile device (or print it) and present it to Ian's Pizza (Frances St. location) Wednesday, Nov. 16. from 5-10 p.m. Stop by their Frances Street location at 319 N Frances St. and dine out to give back!

The more flyers we show, the greater percentage of proceeds we get to support Goodman's Thanksgiving Basket Drive:

  • 1-15 flyers = 5%

  • 16-30 flyers = 10%

  • 31+ flyers = 15%

UW Red White Hunger Fight 

Badgers give back for websiteThe Goodman Community Center's Thanksgiving Basket Drive is in the news thanks to a partnership with Wisconsin Badgers and the UW's Red and White Hunger Fight.

Wisconsin Athletics is proud to continue its strong tradition of fighting hunger in the community. Since its implementation seven years ago, the Red White Hunger Fight has represented the culmination of hundreds of individuals uniting to give back to the community.

This year, the Red White Hunger Fight has joined efforts with the Goodman Community Center to best serve the needs of our community and ensure that all families can enjoy a warm Thanksgiving meal.

Valued Partners

In addition to partnering with UW's Red White Hunger Fight, we've established partnerships with iHeartMedia and WISC-TV/Channel 3000 to help spread the word about the incredible need families face during the Thanksgiving season.

Our Thanksgiving Basket program also partners with with local businessses like Bunky's Café, Jenifer Street Market, The Ideal Bar, Hy-Vee, Fresh Madison Market, Quaker Steak and Lube, Red Zone Sports Bar, Hoptoberfest, Karen & Co./ Sassafras, Schoep's Ice Cream and Jordan's Big 10 Pub.