By John Lynds
East Boston YMCA staff and Stop & Shop executives braved the cold temperatures last Tuesday night to help hand out free turkeys with all the fixings to low-income families.
The Y families were once again the recipients of a generous holiday donation from Stop & Shop as the Massachusetts-based supermarket chain kicked off its Turkey Express program. Through the donation from Stop and Shop the Y was able to give out over 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 last week as families stopped by the pick up a fresh turkey. Children poses for pictures with Stop & Shop executives.
“The East Boston YMCA is proud to team with Stop and Shop and the Boston area Red Cross to provide 250 Thanksgiving meals to the families of East Boston.” said East Boston Y Executive Director Ann-Margaret Gutierrez. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure our community is taken care of and that families have the ability to thrive, no matter the obstacles.”
Gutierrez added that many Y parents said that the cost of preparing a traditional holiday meal was beyond their means, but receiving a free turkey made it possible.
“We estimate that the Stop & Shop give-a-way will help feed 700 children in our community this Thanksgiving,” she said. “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 by Feeding America that finds many Americans are now repeatedly depending on food pantries and other charitable food services to meet regular, rather than temporary, food needs. As 54 percent of those in need visit food pantries as a “normal” part of their monthly supplement, Stop & Shop’s turkey donation will help now more than ever before.
“Stop & Shop is thankful to have customers, associates, and partners who care about making a difference in the communities we serve,” said Mark McGowan, president, Stop & Shop New England Division. “The need is great everywhere – from providing meals to those who are going hungry or ensuring our kids grow to be healthy, productive adults. With the power of all of us coming together, we were able to make a real impact and truly help change lives last year. Stop & Shop cannot thank everyone enough for their unending generosity.”
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.