UTICA, NY - Hundreds of families will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to the Johnson Park Center food pantry.
Residents started lining up on the sidewalks around the center at noon Monday for a free food giveaway that was slated to start at 3:30. Because of the early turnout and cold weather, volunteers started handing out the food earlier.
Boxes, wagons, even shopping carts were filled with items like squash, spaghetti, meats, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Reverend Ursula Meier, COO of Johnson Park Center, says without the food giveaway many local families would not be able to enjoy the holidays.
"It would be a very sad time because there are so many families and it's the end of the month and food stamps don't reach that far. You have the working poor and there's just so much you can do. At least for Thanksgiving we know they can have a good hot meal. That's so important because we know happiness quite often starts with a good meal and family coming together."
Reverend Meier estimates that they were able to help over 400 households have a happy Thanksgiving this year.
*This article has been changed to reflect a correction concerning the title of Reverend Ursula Meier
She is the COO not CEO as previously reported.