Feeding Chittenden taking annual turkey drive virtual this year
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - With more people in need this holiday season, Feeding Chittenden is coming up short on their Thanksgiving meal goal.
“We want to make sure every family has a full Thanksgiving meal," said Anna McMahon with Feeding Chittenden.
McMahon says their mission hasn’t changed, but the method to reach their goal has.
“It’s a little bit different. We are trying to encourage virtual donations, that’s why we are calling it a ‘virtual turkey roundup,'" she said.
McMahon says with a 40% increase in people accessing their services since March, they are preparing for a big need for the holidays.
They are approaching it virtually, and asking for monetary donations because it’s the safest way to do their job, leaves more food stocked for after the holiday, and offers flexibility.
“It’s more effective in the sense that we can buy in bulk and we have more buying power, so we are able to purchase a lot more food with those monetary donations," said McMahon.
At this point, they are only at 500 families fed and their goal is 3,500, which is based on the need they have seen all year. Some of those are families accessing Feeding Chittenden’s services for the first time.
“Everyone comes here with a different story," said Gretchen Gundrum of South Burlington.
Gundrum’s story brought her to Feeding Chittenden for the first time in 2014, then again in the spring of last year. She says she knows it can be a tough leap to make, but in times of need, she says the help is always there.
“So once you make that step of admitting it’s OK, then the next step is to actually access,” said Gundrum.
She now serves on the board of a food shelf in South Burlington as a community liaison. She says she knows something as small as a $10 donation can buy a turkey to feed a family.
And McMahon says putting that food on someone’s table can be enough to give the holiday a whole new meaning.
“Turkey, those Thanksgiving sides helps people to feel more connected during this time," she said.
Feeding Chittenden is not currently serving meals as they typically would and have been handing out food as the safest option. McMahon says for those unable to get out to them, they can still come to you.
“If people are afraid to leave their home or maybe they don’t have access to a vehicle, or otherwise cannot come here, we do deliver as well. We strongly encourage people to call or contact us on our website and we would be happy to schedule a delivery," said McMahon.
The organization will be doing a Thanksgiving meal to-go on Wednesday, Nov. 25. They say offering families a Thanksgiving meal can offer them a sense of feeling like they are a part of the community, as well.
Donations can be dropped off at their location on North Winooski Avenue in Burlington. They also say you can make an online donation by texting the word GIVE to 802-242-5953.
They will start distributing turkeys to families starting Wednesday, Nov. 18.
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