Feeding Chittenden launches virtual Thanksgiving food drive
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - As we enter the holiday season, local food pantries are working overtime to make sure nobody goes hungry. Among them-- Feeding Chittenden, which is working to put turkey dinner on the table for thousands of Vermonters. We spoke with them to learn how people can help them with that mission, or get help themselves.
Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. And while many wonder how they’ll make room for all of that delicious food, some are left wondering how they’ll put food on the table at all.
“People are wondering how they’re going to afford rent and medication, you know, heating costs are going up and food is usually the first thing that gets cut, so a lot of people are skipping meals or watering them down altogether,” said Anna McMahon of Feeding Chittenden.
The colder months are a notoriously tough time of year for people who already struggle to make ends meet. The pandemic has only amplified that, according to Feeding Chittenden. Many people, they say, have had to use food pantries for the first time.
“We anticipate more and more people coming in as we head into the winter season,” McMahon said.
But to help keep bellies full and spirits high this holiday season, Feeding Chittenden has once again launched their Virtual Turkey Roundup. Their goal, like last year, is to feed 3,500 families in Chittenden County. They say for $25, they can feed a family of four.
“Any of the money that’s going through that virtual food drive will be used to purchase Thanksgiving items like turkeys, sides, anything that you would have on your table, we’ll make sure to provide to the community,” McMahon said.
While the virtual aspect keeps things COVID-safe, they’ll accept in-person food donations as well. People are encouraged to bring physical food donations to their Old North End campus or simply volunteer.
As Feeding Chittenden has numerous ways to donate, they have numerous ways to seek help, too.
“We want to make sure that we’re able to provide food access in a variety of ways, whether that’s through deliveries or people coming here on-site to pick up some food,” McMahon said.
There are some 20,000 food insecure people in Chittenden County alone. They say about 12,000 will come to them for help each year.
While reaching out for help can be a daunting first step, Feeding Chittenden tells us they’re working hard to break down stigmas, and give people the support they need.
“If people want to give us a call, we can deliver to them,” McMahon said. “If they feel uncomfortable coming here in person we want to do everything we can to make sure that we create as much access as possible to folks.”
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