Wanted: Thanksgiving Turkeys And Trimmings

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Hunger

In advance of Thanksgiving, Family Pantry volunteers (pictured) are collecting frozen turkeys through Nov. 15, and Lower Cape Outreach is doing the same on Nov. 19. COURTESY PHOTO

Supermarkets will soon be featuring turkeys and the other essentials for Thanksgiving feasts, and local food pantries are asking you to remember them when you’re making your shopping list.

The Family Pantry of Cape Cod will be distributing 400 complete turkey dinners for clients to cook at home, with each frozen turkey accompanied by stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and more. Donations of medium-sized frozen turkeys will be accepted through Nov. 15 at the Family Pantry’s headquarters on Queen Anne Road in North Harwich, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 to noon.

“This year we have a goal of getting all of the turkeys from the community rather than buying them from the Greater Boston Food Bank,” Family Pantry Executive Director Christine Menard said. “The Greater Boston Food Bank spends the equivalent of six tractor trailer loads of food on just turkeys. If they don't need to do that, it will free up those funds for other food needs. So far we need about 200 more turkeys and we will be in good shape,” she said.

To sweeten the feast, donors can also bring a frozen pie, which will be included with the dinners while supplies last. People can begin dropping off turkeys and pies immediately, Menard added.

After providing the 400 complete dinners, the Family Pantry expects to provide an additional 200 turkeys to other clients. New and existing Family Pantry clients must register to receive the meals by Nov. 22; for information, call 508-432-6519.

“We have already registered 286 clients for the turkey meal in the first week,” Menard said.

As it does each year, Lower Cape Outreach Council will be hosting its own turkey distribution and is seeking donations of turkeys and related groceries. In addition to frozen turkeys, the group is accepting frozen turkey and chicken breasts, along with cranberry sauce, gravy, canned vegetables, stuffing, and mixes for cakes and breads. Donations should be brought to Lower Cape Outreach Council’s office at 19 Brewster Cross Rd., Orleans, on Nov. 19 between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Only non-perishable food items will be accepted after that date.

The meals will be distributed to Lower Cape Outreach clients on Nov. 23; for more information, call 508-240-0694.

There’s another way to support Lower Cape Outreach at Thanksgiving. The annual Turkey Trot road race happens on Thanksgiving in downtown Chatham, and runners are encouraged to bring donations of nonperishable food; entry fees also benefit Lower Cape Outreach directly. In past years, the festive event has raised $40,000 and collected enough food to fill a 26-foot box truck.

For food pantries that provide nutritious meals to local families 365 days a year, supplying something special on Thanksgiving is essential nonetheless.

“Everyone deserves a little joy and the Thanksgiving tradition is so important to our families,” Menard said. “We are happy to provide a wonderful holiday meal for them to have with family and friends.”