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Food Pantries Make Sure Everyone Celebrates Thanksgiving

While many of us sit down on November 24 to enjoy a delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, and all the other fixings, a number of local organizations are going out of their way to make certain in-need families and others are also enjoying those same traditional foods we all love on Thanksgiving.

Amy Griswold, who coordinates United Parish's Food Pantry, says she and her volunteers have been busy working to put their Thanksgiving Day baskets together for the Food Pantry's patrons. "It's all the traditional foods you'd want to eat on Thanksgiving," she says. That includes turkey, stuffing, gravy, a five-pound bag of potatoes, vegetables, rolls, and dessert. Griswold said the baskets will be given out the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Although the Food Pantry is based out of United Parish, no one is ever turned away. "No church affiliation is required here," she said.

Griswold noted that this year the Food Pantry has seen a dramatic increase in usage and needs all the donations it can get saying, "Even to provide for 25 families is a big number for our little pantry."

The Upton Bloomer Girls are collaborating with other Upton groups and businesses to also put together baskets of food for those who need a little extra help during the holidays, especially the senior population in town. "We work with the Senior Center to help determine the need," explained Bloomer Girl Ida Jette, stressing it's a shared effort that allows her group to help others. "Blackstone Valley Tech. students bake pies for our baskets and the Men's Club gives us a huge check to go out and purchase food. Kelly's Farm Stand is also a huge help."

Jette also acknowledged members of St. Gabriel's Church also donate food and paper goods which are then divided and disbursed among the Bloomer's Girls and Mendon's Food Pantry. "It's really a huge community effort to help," she said.

Mendon Food Pantry Coordinator Carol Kotros uses the St. Gabriel's donations as well as those from the November Scouting for Food drive to help clients enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. "Many times as the holidays are approaching we get donations of cranberry sauce, stuffing, or vegetables to distribute," she said.

Still, once the turkey day holiday is over, these organizations get right back to it in order to prepare for the December holiday season. "Yes, we turn right around to get our Christmas baskets ready," said Griswold. "It's a very busy time for us but it's so rewarding."


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