Thanksgiving tradition changes hand in south Mpls.

8:38 PM, Nov 22, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Almost two decades ago, a Thanksgiving Day tradition was born in south Minneapolis. At the heart of the tradition are Jo and Don Senander.

The duo is the brain behind the Thanksgiving Day Free Store. Anyone in need can come get clothes and other goods at no cost.

They have served thousands over the years, and they want to continue their work, but time has taken a toll.

"I'm 82. Jo's 80 and so we're old. It's getting a little difficult for us to lift things over 40 pounds" Don said.

This year they made a tough decision to retire. They didn't know who would take over or if anyone wanted to. In stepped their second oldest daughter, Suzie White.

"I can't just let all my mother's hard work all these years just dissolve. I just think the need is too great, and we really need to help wherever we can and I want her legacy to continue with this project," White said.

They don't have to look further than their great grandson Davin Miguel for more help.

"If Aunt Suzie can't do it hopefully in later years I will be able to," Miguel said.

But Jo and Don aren't completely leaving the store. Jo said next year they will return not as organizers, but as volunteers because giving is just their tradition.

Jo was an "11 Who Care" recipient in 2009 for her work on the store. It's not hard to see why.

On top of gathering items all year long for the store she and her husband also volunteer two days a week at a food shelf.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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