Thanksgiving Project Provides 5,000 Families with Holiday Meal

Thanksgiving Project continues to grow to meet rising need, helps families in 10 local communities enjoy a holiday dinner.

United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley’s Annual Thanksgiving Project distributed 5,000 Thanksgiving meal packages today to families in 10 local communities. As food costs continue to rise and the demand for assistance remains high, local corporations and nonprofits have again stepped forward to donate food, funding, and their own time to help provide families with a complete holiday meal. The cost to provide one meal increased from approximately $35 last year to $40 this year. At Catholic Charities in Dorchester, the project’s largest site, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley joined volunteers to distribute nearly 1,500 meals to local families in need.

“The Thanksgiving Project has grown tremendously in recent years, not only due to the increased need in our communities, but thanks to the generous support of our partners and volunteers,” said Michael Durkin, President of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “These Thanksgiving baskets are important not only because they provide a celebratory meal to a struggling family, but because they allow families to enjoy the holiday without having to make damaging sacrifices in other crucial areas of their budget.”

The event brings together several regional nonprofits including Catholic Charities, Interfaith Social Services, Lynn Housing Authority, Randolph High School, Lawrence Community Works, and Weymouth Food Pantry, serving 10 different communities. The Project is made possible by support from corporate sponsors such as Stop & Shop, UPS, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Putnam Investments, and John Hancock.

In addition to corporate support, more than 500 local volunteers generously donated their time over the past week, packaging the 5,000 Thanksgiving grocery bags and over 100,000 pounds of food at Hynes Convention Center, in space donated by Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. Volunteers also donate their time distributing meals throughout the region today.

Totaling more 100,000 pounds of food for 5,000 Thanksgiving dinners, reaching 20,000 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

Thanksgiving food baskets were distributed to families at the following locations on Saturday, November 23, 2013.

Catholic Charities Yawkey Center
185 Columbia Road, Dorchester

El Centro del Cardenal Food Pantry
Monsignor Reynolds Way & Harrison Avenue, Boston

Catholic Charities Laboure Center
275 West Broadway, South Boston

Catholic Charities Greater Boston
270 Washington Street, Somerville

Merrimack Valley Catholic Charities
70 Lawrence Street, Lowell

Lawrence Community Works
168 Newbury Street, Lawrence

Lynn Housing Authority
10 Church Street, Lynn

Weymouth Food Pantry
1189 Commercial Street, Weymouth

Interfaith Social Services
50 Adams Street, Quincy

Randolph High School
70 Memorial Parkway, Randolph

# # #

About United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley
One of the region’s largest nonprofits, United Way’s work ensures that children enter school ready to learn, youth stay engaged in school so they graduate with options for the future, and parents attain financial stability. No other single organization has the scope, expertise, and influence to bring together hundreds of human services agencies, government, businesses, private foundations and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results.