Thanksgiving dinner donations needed

Justin Welch, a member of the board of directors for Our Community Food Pantry in Southwick, displays some of the bulk food items purchased at a central food bank distribution center. (File photo by chief photographer Frederick Gore)

SOUTHWICK – As families across the country prepare for their Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings, there are residents right here who are wondering how they will provide a meal for their family.
To ease the struggle for those in need, Our Community Pantry, serving Southwick, Tolland and Granville, is helping provide a Thanksgiving dinner for 70 area families.
Board member Justin Welch said this year, the Pantry board and staff  “are incredibly thankful” for the students and staff of Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional High School who are helping in a great way.
“They are trying to get us 80 homemade pies,” said Welch. “For many of them, instead of making one pie for their family, they will make two and donate one.”
Welch said having that homemade touch will be meaningful to the many families Our Community Pantry serves.
Welch said the turkeys are the toughest donation to come by. They can be expensive, he admitted, but residents and businesses have been generous with their donations. They could still use some of the trimmings though.
“We could use vegetables, canned potatoes or mashed potato mixes, gravy, cranberry sauce – the things that go along with the turkey,” said Welch.
The Pantry also is in need of recyclable bags to put the meals in.
While families in need of a Thanksgiving meal should have signed up by Nov. 15, Welch said they do not turn away anyone who needs food. And, he added, Christmas is just around the corner so people should sign-up to receive that holiday meal as well.
“If we have any donations left from Thanksgiving we can use it to provide Christmas meals, and we still need to stock our shelves for the winter,” Welch said.
While most people enjoy donating actual food, Welch said the Pantry prefers donations of money simply because it can get more for it at The Food Bank than most people can get at the grocery store.
“We can get 14 meals for someone for just $2,” said Welch. “So if people only have pocket change to donate, we can make a difference with that.”
Our Community Pantry volunteers will be sorting meals Monday night and distributing them to families on Tuesday.
Donations can be dropped off this Saturday morning or Monday from 3-5 p.m. at 220 College Highway. For more information, call 413-569-9876.

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