MUNISING, Mich. (WJMN) – Michigan State Police (MSP) and Pat’s Foods in Munising teamed up to help make Thanksgiving meals more accessible in Alger County.

“We have partnered up with our local law enforcement and MSP troopers to get free turkeys this Thanksgiving season. We have an opportunity to kind of share the blessing. At Pat’s Foods we really care about being able to share something that is kind of a cool opportunity,” said Joe Norton, Store Director at Pat’s Foods in Munising.

The idea started when MSP Trooper Tom Kinnunen approached Pat’s Foods with the idea to engage the community with random acts of kindness.

Pat’s Foods donated 20 coupons which were good for a free 14-16 pound turkey. MSP Troopers in Alger County then took the coupons and set out into the community to find people to surprise.

Before leaving the grocery store, a woman approached Trooper Kinnunen and told him about a woman in Christmas who was collecting items to provide whole Thanksgiving meals for families in the area.

When he arrived in Christmas, neighbors knew exactly who he was talking about and helped point us to her home.

Mary Hase told the Trooper this is her second year of the effort to feed her neighbors.

“I was diagnosed with throat cancer, and I spent my time at Mayo Clinic. So my give back is to the people that were there for me. I want to give back Thanksgiving to the people in the area here and donating turkey dinners for those people that can’t afford them,” said Mary Hase.

Hase said she’s savvy with coupons and collecting can and bottle returns. She also has some helpers making pies and bread to include with the meal kits she’s assembling. And if the families don’t know how to make a certain dish in the kit, she said she’s happy to help provide directions.

“It fills my heart knowing that I’m giving to somebody that needs that,” added Hase.

Reflecting on the interacting with Mary Hase, Trooper Kinnunen shared his thoughts on the day and the impact of how one random act of kindness found another.

“It was no accident. Like this whole thing. You get what you give. We took initiative and reached out to Pat’s. It’s not random or coincidence that, we were at Pat’s today and we heard that name Mary Hase.” Trooper Kinnunen continued, “We kept on going for forward to locate her and help her by giving turkeys for these meals that she’s going to prepare for people. And then we didn’t give up. And to hear her story and to put a face with a name and like a mission, it was amazing. It was awesome.