United Way and Partners Provide 6,500 Families with Turkey and Thanksgiving Groceries

Thanksgiving Project continues to grow to meet rising need, helps families in 12 local communities enjoy a holiday dinner in their own home.

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United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley’s annual Thanksgiving Project distributed 6,500 Thanksgiving meal packages today to families in 12 local communities, working with Catholic Charities and United Way partners across the region. The largest collective initiative of its kind in the Greater Boston area, the Thanksgiving Project is a massive undertaking that has expanded exponentially over the last 5 years to meet the high demand in our community, growing from serving 1,000 families in 2009 to 6,500 this holiday.

As food costs continue to rise and the demand for assistance remains high, local corporations and volunteers have continued to step forward to donate food, funding, and their own time to help feed more families.

The Thanksgiving Project is a massive effort, involving several partners and hundreds of volunteers:

  • Stop & Shop donates a significant amount of the food
  • UPS helps make sure it gets where it needs to go – transporting food from Stop & Shop to the packing site, and then to 12 different communities for distribution.
  • Mass Convention Center Authority donates a huge space at Hynes Convention Center so volunteers can organize the massive palettes and 150,000 pounds of food into 6,500 individual bags.
  • Local companies send teams of volunteers to help pack food throughout the week – with more than 500 volunteers contributing to the effort.
  • 12 community agencies work with United Way and their clients to ensure those who most need it receive the help.

Totaling more 150,000 pounds of food for 6,500 Thanksgiving dinners, and reaching 25,000 individuals, the packages consist of:

  • A turkey and aluminum pan
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Stuffing mix
  • Corn muffin mix
  • Cans of corn and mixed vegetables
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Onions
  • Potatoes

In addition to corporate support, more than 500 local volunteers generously donated their time over the past week, packaging the food into 6,500 individual Thanksgiving grocery bags at Hynes Convention Center, in space donated by Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. Volunteers are also helped distribute meals throughout the region.

“Every year as I see The Thanksgiving Project grow, I am touched by how much our partners and volunteers can do when we work together. At the same time, I am saddened by how much need remains in our communities,” said Michael Durkin, President of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “As the holidays and winter approach, nobody should have to choose between putting food on the table and heating their home – a reality for too many families.”

The event brings together several regional nonprofits including Catholic Charities, Greater Boston YMCA, Interfaith Social Services, The Neighborhood Developers, Lynn Housing Authority, Randolph High School, Lawrence Community Works, and Weymouth Food Pantry, serving 12 different communities.

The Thanksgiving Project this year is made possible by support from Mass Convention Center Authority, Stop & Shop; and UPS.

Thanksgiving baskets were distributed to families at the following locations on Saturday, November 21, 2015:

Catholic Charities Yawkey Center
185 Columbia Road, Dorchester

Catholic Charities El Centro del Cardenal Food Pantry
Distribution at Cathedral High School
74 Union Park Street

YMCA of Greater Boston
316 Huntington Avenue

South Boston
Catholic Charities Laboure Center
275 West Broadway, South Boston

Merrimack Valley Catholic Charities
70 Lawrence Street, Lowell

Catholic Charities Greater Boston
270 Washington Street, Somerville

The Neighborhood Developers
4 Gerrish Avenue, Chelsea

Lawrence Community Works
168 Newbury Street, Lawrence

Lynn Housing Authority
10 Church Street, Lynn

Weymouth Food Pantry
1189 Commercial Street, Weymouth

Interfaith Social Services
105 Adams Street, Quincy

Randolph High School
70 Memorial Parkway, Randolph

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