Big Heart Brigade needs last-minute donations

Posted at 6:35 PM, Nov 21, 2016

So many people depend on the Big Heart Brigade, especially this Thanksgiving week. Now this important organization may not be able to deliver on the ever increasing demand. It needs donations to cover the costs.

For Shara and Nick Mader, it started with a love story. “We have been doing this since we were dating,” said Shara Mader, from Palm Beach Gardens.

Volunteering at the Big Heart Brigade’s Thanksgiving assembly line.“To me this is the heart of the community,” said Shara. “It makes me want to cry right now. I love this.”

Her husband, Nick, added, “We like to give back, even if it's in a small capacity such as pulling turkey off of a bone.”

No job is too small. More than 4,000 volunteers, including an exceptional ed class from Royal Palm Beach High School, put the meals together. “It feels good, great, extremely great,” said Dylen Paul, from the class.

Now 27, PJ Fetterman has been helping volunteer since he was 2-years-old. “It's some hot, long days but it's definitely worth it to know that we're helping those in need,” said Fetterman, of Palm Beach Gardens.

But the organization needs help to keep up with the demand. “Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on us all,” said Dean Morehouse, the president of the Big Heart Brigade.

The organization must find a way to cover a $42,000 shortfall. “It's very important,” said Morehouse. “It’s the whole reason we're able to provide these meals to everybody.”

Volunteers make 75,000 meals for churches and organizations across the state.

“It's hard work but it's what has to get done,” said Lesley Comissiong, who came all the way here from the Virgin Islands to volunteer.

The passion to serve is strong. Seven years and counting, Shara and Nick Mader say that’s what their marriage is all about. “I think if you serve in your marriage, you have a pretty healthy marriage because it then becomes not about you,” said Shara. “That's humbling in itself.”

On Wednesday, the first truck will leave for organizations and churches stretching from Homestead to Orlando. Meal pickup and delivery starts Thursday.

The Big Heart Brigade hopes it can satisfy the ever increasing need for donations.

To help visit the group’s website at: