For one New Whiteland couple, a series of events this fall left them wondering whether they’d be able to afford a Thanksgiving meal.

First, Scott Dupras had both his hands bitten by a dog, which left him unable to work for more than a month. Then, his truck broke down, making an already difficult financial situation even more challenging.

His wife, Ladonna Dupras, said they weren’t sure what they were going to do for a Thanksgiving meal. Then, they found out they would be one of more than 280 families getting help from a Center Grove area church that provides Thanksgiving assistance every fall.

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SS. Francis & Clare Catholic Church has provided all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal for families in Johnson County since the church was founded more than two decades ago, said Jerry Dean, a volunteer who helps organize the event.

“This is what our faith is all about,” he said. “It is helping our needy brethren.”

The church receives recommendations on families that need help from local schools, churches and food pantries and ended up inviting more than 300 families to come to the church to receive food Sunday, with about 250 showing up. The food given out included a turkey and all of the other items that go with it to make a Thanksgiving meal, including canned goods, vegetables and bread, Dean said.

In addition to those families, they also provided food this year to about 30 Burmese families being assisted by St. Barnabas Catholic Church on the south side, after that church asked for help, Dean said. The parish had been working with the families the past year, helping them get adjusted to living in Indiana, and knew that they needed assistance for Thanksgiving, he said.

SS. Francis & Clare Catholic Church members spent the past couple weeks going out and shopping for the items, with enough in stock that each family received about $100 worth of food, Dean said.

The goal is not only to feed them on Thanksgiving Day, but for them to have food for the week after as well, he said.

“I am very thankful,” Ladonna Dupras said. “We didn’t know what we were going to do.”

Phyllis Gibson, a Greenwood resident who lost her job four years ago, said she plans to use the food to provide a Thanksgiving meal for about a dozen people in her apartment complex. Though she’s been struggling financially the past four years, being able to provide a helping hand to others when she is able is important, she said.

“That is how I was brought up,” Gibson said.

She planned to get to work right away on Monday to make sure she could get everything prepared by Thursday.

For Greenwood resident Helen Reynolds, the past couple months have been challenging for herself and her husband, whose medical issues resulted in him needing to quit his job a month ago. Her husband, David Reynolds, recently had triple bypass surgery and was diagnosed with brain lesions with his health deteriorating the past several weeks, she said.

They are still waiting to talk with other doctors to know what the issues will mean for her husband’s health, but in the meantime, she was thankful for the help she was able to receive this Thanksgiving from her community, Helen Reynolds said.

“It’s a blessing that we moved here four years ago,” she said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2702.