WESTFIELD — The Westfield Public Schools Thanksgiving Food Drive is well underway and co-chairs Sue and Ralph Figy and Eileen and Jimmy Jachym have been behind the scenes asking area businesses to sponsor portions of the more than 200 Thanksgiving dinners given out annually to district families in need.
Sue Figy said again this year, due to COVID-19, the effort didn’t start with a public canned food drive, because organizers didn’t want all of the extra traffic at the Westfield Technical Academy where the drive is organized. Instead, with the theme of Home for the Holidays, they divided the meals into sections and asked area businesses to sponsor portions of the meals.
“There are a lot of people donating items that have to do with real estate and making your home a home. All of these agencies have supplied a part of the meal,” Figy said.
Figy, a realtor with Coldwell Banker, asked other realtors in town for donations. To date, fellow realtors Lisa Oleksak-Sullivan, Kathy Wallis-McCann and Coldwell Banker Westfield Associates, Joanne Papdimitriou of Keller Williams Realty, and Witalisz & Associates Real Estate have all joined her and stepped up.
Westfield Gas & Electric and Whip City Fiber again donated the reusable bags the dinners are packed in, and J.L. Raymaaker’s and Sons and ROAR Yard Products donated 100 turkeys, out of the 200 reserved for the food drive by North Elm Butcher Block, at 37 N. Elm St., Westfield.
“North Elm Butcher Block is doing our turkeys, and anyone can go in and purchase a turkey for the school. We pick those up and deliver on the Monday before Thanksgiving to the various schools. I am in need of quite a few turkeys, 70 at this point,” Figy said. She said while the turkeys are $30 each, people may donate whatever amount they wish towards the turkeys.
Also donating portions of the meal were longtime supporters Advance Manufacturing, Firtion Adams Funeral Home, Elm Electric Inc., R. Levesque Associates Inc., Attorney Richard Sullivan III, Dr. James McCann, Atlas Chiropractic, Dr. Jane Martone, dentist, and the Westfield Police Association.
“Between them all, they divided up this whole meal,” Figy said.
She said some items are still needed, if other businesses or members of the public want to get involved.
“Due to flooding this year, we don’t have any squash from the farmers. So if anyone knows a farmer that has squash or carrots, we sure would love it,” Figy said. “I could use some more sponsors as well. I look for large and small donations. People can donate gift cards to any of the grocery stores in town. We prefer small increments, as we use them to supplement families throughout the year that are in need.”
All gift cards may be dropped off at any school or mailed to the main office at Westfield Public Schools, 94 N. Elm St., Suite 101, Westfield, MA 01085.
Figy also asked that people who know of any families in need of a Thanksgiving meal, or who are in need themselves, should contact the guidance department where their child goes to school, and they will arrange for the meals to be picked up at that school the Monday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 22.
“I do really hope that people do reach out to their school guidance counselors if they know someone who is in need,” she said. If there are children in different schools, they can arrange to pick up the meal at whatever school is easiest.