By John Lynds
Some of East Boston YMCA’s families were once again the recipients of a generous holiday donation from Stop & Shop.
Last Thursday at the Y, Stop & Shop kicked off its annual Turkey Express program with the donation of 250 turkeys that will feed over 700 local children and their families this holiday.
The Y’s parking lot on Bremen Street was a beehive of activity Thursday, November 17 evening as families stopped by the pick up a fresh turkey as well as fresh potatoes, stuffing and other trimmings for a full Thanksgiving Day meal.
“Many of our parents said that the cost of preparing a traditional holiday meal was beyond their means, but receiving a free turkey made it possible,” said East Boston Y Executive Director Ann-Margaret Gutierrez. “We estimate that the Stop & Shop give-a-way will help feed 700 children in our community this Thanksgiving. That’s a lot to be thankful for, and we are enormously grateful to Stop & Shop.”
Stop & Shop donated 8,500 turkeys to the Y and eight other hunger relief organizations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. In total, Stop & Shop’s Turkey Express program will donate 20,000 turkeys across the Northeast as part of several company-led initiatives to help combat hunger this holiday.
The donation comes on the heels of a new study that finds many Americans are now repeatedly depending on food pantries and other charitable food services to meet regular, rather than temporary, food needs. Stop & Shops Turkey Express program is more important than ever as food insecurity is climbing to almost 16 percent of residents in Suffolk County alone. That number represents the amount of people who visit food pantries as a “normal” part of their monthly supplement.
“During this time of year we are especially mindful of the work by the food banks and hunger relief agencies across New England as they help make the holiday season easier for families in need,” said Phil Tracey, spokesperson for Stop & Shop New England Division. “As a food retailer, fighting hunger is an integral part of who we are. Stop & Shop is fortunate to be able to help thousands of families in need in the communities we serve.”
In addition to turkey donations, Stop & Shop is encouraging customers to purchase a $10 Hunger Box filled with trimmings for a holiday meal, such as Stop & Shop’s own brand stuffing mix, cut yams, cranberry sauce, etc. Customers can take the box and donate it personally to their local food pantry or the store will donate it to their regional food bank. This gift will help fight hunger in the community.
YMCA’s Joseph Gaeta and Carlos Fuentes hold up turkeys donated by Stop & Shop as part of the supermarket’s Turkey Express program.
East Boston Y Executive Director Ann-Margaret Gutierrez gets the vegetables ready for distribution.
The East Boston YMCA staff poses with executives from Stop & Shop during last weeks event.
Volunteers help prepare the bags that will contain turkey and all the trimmings for a full Thanksgiving Day dinner.
YMCA’s Joseph Gaeta begins handing out turkeys. The Y handed out over 250 turkeys last Thursday.
Volunteers from the East Boston YMCA and Stop & Shop were on hand to distribute all the turkeys.
A volunteer hands off a bag containing vegetables like potatoes, string beans as well as stuffing.
A happy family heads home with a full Thanksgiving Day dinner in hand.
Local news stations were on hand to interview participants during the annual event.