By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer
Few families will go hungry this Thanksgiving with the help of dedicated individuals and organizations throughout the community.
The annual Thanksgiving meal boxes at the Associate Benevolent Society are a true testament to the generous holiday spirit, made possible by donations from local businesses and countless volunteer hours.
More than 450 families and 1,459 individuals received Thanksgiving meals and then some.
“It has been really busy with a line out the door and down the street,” Associate Benevolent Society Executive Director Paula Mallory said. “But we had about the same amount of families sign up as last year.”
Food is provided to those in need through the River Bend Food Pantry and Walmart. Kwik Star donated 600 loaves of bread and Rock Tenn donated all of the more than 400 boxes. The Associate Benevolent Society also benefits from a strong partnership with United Way.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the help of United Way,” Mallory said.
Items include everything from chicken or turkey and stuffing, to cereal and bananas. This year some extra shopping was needed due to a shortage at the pantry.
“We were short on some of the items we needed, so we had to do more shopping than usual this year, which is unfortunate,” Executive Director Mallory said.
Volunteers from Kiwanis, Ashford University and Chancy Youth Group helped assemble and distribute the boxes that went out Monday and Tuesday. Most of the volunteers attested that there is an even greater reward in giving than receiving.
“It’s so nice to give back and they are so grateful,” Caitlin Fisk, Ashford University human resource employee, said. “It’s a comfort to know that there is help if you are ever in need.”