Families come together to lend a hand for Thanksgiving Project
The Thanksgiving Project brings people together on a big scale for a simple task: to make sure families in need have a holiday meal.
For veteran partners and volunteers of United Way’s Thanksgiving Project, the holiday is about a lot more than one big meal. In fact, this year it was 6,500 big meals – with hundreds of thousands of pounds of food and many helping hands to provide meals for families in need.
With 1 in 8 people in Massachusetts struggling with hunger, these Thanksgiving groceries not only provide the fixings for a celebratory meal, but are a critical means for families get through the week without having to compromise a tight budget. For many, it is the difference between choosing between basic needs like food, heat, and shelter.
“The Thanksgiving Project continues to grow year over year, which is a testament to our donors and volunteers,” said Mike Durkin, President of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “But it also shows how much need remains in our communities.”
Helping hands, big and small
Increased need requires increased support. And every year, volunteers and donors of all ages step up to help. The Thanksgiving Project has become one of our most popular volunteer opportunities for families, as parents and children take time out of a busy holiday season to give back to their community. Some help pack food during the week, while others spend a Saturday smiling and wishing people “Happy Thanksgiving” as they hand out turkeys to those who are less fortunate.
“We have many donors and families who do this together every year,” said Lanita McCormick, United Way’s Vice President of Volunteer Engagement. “It’s wonderful to watch the kids grow year after year, and no matter how old they are, they take such pride in their ability to help. Even the little ones understand that they are doing a lot more than just counting cans or handing out turkeys.”
But the real work of the Thanksgiving Project starts well before the leaves turn, with months of planning between corporate and community partners. It all culminates with a week of volunteers assembling the meal bags and a full day of distribution at 10 locations across the community. This massive effort is made possible with sponsors like Stop & Shop donating a large portion of the food, UPS helping transport and move it all, and Massachusetts Convention Center Authority donating the large space to turn 200,000 pounds of food into 6,500 meals for families. And we couldn’t do it without every volunteer.
The cost of providing this Thanksgiving meal for a family of 4 increased this year to $50. You can help by giving to the Family Fund. Any gift now through Giving Tuesday will be doubled! GIVE TODAY.