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Thanksgiving meal distribution helps hundreds

Hundreds of families are struggling to meet basic needs, and waited in line for hours to get a free meal.

Posted: Nov 26, 2019 5:44 PM
Updated: Nov 26, 2019 5:54 PM

The Utica Food Pantry has been busy collecting donations, so they can provide underprivileged people an opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with a full meal. This is the 5th year they’ve had a Thanksgiving meal giveaway, but from the numbers of people that showed up, it may end up a record year. Russell Brooks is the chairman of the Utica Food Pantry.

"It’s awful to think of people being hungry, and there are hungry people in this city. There’s hungry adults, there’s hungry children.There’s people that need help, you know, that need assistance," said Brooks.

Sharon Zampa waited in line for almost three and a half hours to get a meal, and she knows the need is there.

"There’s a lot of people that go hungry, and half of these people deserve it," she said.

The donations left people like Harold Postal feeling pretty good about the upcoming holiday.

"Wonderful! You get the family together, friends together, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving," he said.

The Food Pantry is giving away 550 turkeys, and plans to purchase more if necessary. I asked many people what would make them wait in line for so long. Utica residents Nathaniel and Velvet Fulton gave it to me straight.  

"The Turkey (they laugh)! The aftermath of it. The food, the good stuff. Yeah the good stuff. The family gatherings. The loving spirit of the family."

The line ran from the front of the firehouse, down Bleecker Street, up 3rd Street almost to Elizabeth Street. The question is why so many people this year. Utica Fire Department Chief Scott Ingersoll thinks it could be a lack in services, saying "I think there’s a lot of need in this community that you know, maybe there’s some shortcomings in some of the services, and we’re able to make up for some of that for this holiday." 

The Food Pantry is always accepting donations to provide those without, something to be thankful for.

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