Historic Pabst Mansion gathering celebrates cherished family traditions

On a chilly November evening, Aurora Family Service (AFS)  hosted a traditional, family-style holiday dinner at the historic Pabst Mansion to benefit the Family-to-Family Thanksgiving program, as well as to remember the century-old practice that was its inspiration.

9.14.12 Outside of Mansion

The entrance to the Pabst Mansion was decorated with dozens of luminarias, symbolizing the thousands of bags of food provided to needy families each year by Aurora Family Service.

At the turn of the last century, Captain Frederick Pabst began the wonderful tradition of giving baskets – filled with ingredients to prepare a holiday meal – to poor families throughout Milwaukee.

Now in its seventeenth year, the Aurora Family Service Family-to-Family Thanksgiving program is continuing this tradition by providing the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner to families in need..

During dinner, Jane Pirsig, executive director of AFS, discussed the many ways AFS serves Milwaukee-area families and the importance of the Family-to-Family Thanksgiving Program.

Jane Pirsig, left, executive director of Aurora Family Service, tours the Pabst Mansion with donors and friends of AFS.

Jane Pirsig, left, executive director of Aurora Family Service, tours the Pabst Mansion with donors and friends of AFS.

“When a family is facing an economic or emotional crisis, having holiday traditions fall by the wayside can be another devastating blow,” said Pirsig. “Giving families the ability to carry on traditions and celebrate in their homes can bring joy and relief in otherwise difficult times.”

John Eastberg, senior historian of the Pabst Mansion, shared the history of the grand home and the generous nature of the Pabst family.

“Now that AFS is continuing the work of providing holiday meals to families facing hardship, a partnership between the Pabst Mansion and Aurora Family Service is a natural thing. I know that Captain Pabst would be very pleased to see everyone here in his home tonight.”

This year, Aurora Family Service’s Family-to-Family Thanksgiving program provided 3,100 families with a complete set of groceries so they could savor a home-cooked holiday meal and spend time with loved ones.

Sarilee Maney, right, a long-time supporter and volunteer at Aurora Visiting Nurse Association’s Zilber Family Hospice, visits with one of the Pabst Mansion’s many docents.

Sarilee Maney, right, a long-time supporter and volunteer at Aurora Visiting Nurse Association’s Zilber Family Hospice, visits with one of the Pabst Mansion’s many docents.

Donations from generous individuals, corporations and foundations make this program possible and gifts are accepted year-round.

Every gift can change a life.  Your secure online donation to the Aurora Family Service Family to Family Thanksgiving program ensures that long-time family traditions survive short-term financial crisis.  

For just $35, you can create lasting holiday memories for a local family in need. Consider a gift to the Aurora Health Care Foundation today!

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