SCRANTON — As certain as falling leaves, pumpkin spice or any other rite of autumn, Friends of the Poor of Scranton announces the 46th Annual Thanksgiving Community Program is right on schedule to serve those in need during the upcoming holiday.

The program’s three-pronged service events — Thanksgiving Dinner for Adults & Elderly, Family to Family Thanksgiving Food Basket Program and Interfaith Prayer Service — are poised once again to minister to anyone in the community seeking assistance at Thanksgiving, according to Meghan Loftus, Friends of the Poor president and CEO.

The Thanksgiving Dinner will be served take-out style on Tuesday, Nov. 22, outside the Scranton Cultural Center, 420 North Washington Ave., Scranton, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

“Anyone in need of a cooked Thanksgiving meal can drive-by or walk-up for a meal,” Loftus said. “We will have the 400 and 500 blocks of North Washington Avenue and Vine Street closed for the event.”

Noting that 3,500 holiday meals will continue to be distributed while they last, Loftus requested that anyone planning to attend arrive no earlier than 2 p.m.

“We will also provide meals to those adults and elderly who live in low-income high rises through our continued partnership with the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging and the Junior League of Scranton,” she added.

The Family to Family Thanksgiving Food Basket Program, under the direction of the Robeson family, takes over the Scranton Cultural Center the next morning on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Beginning at 9 a.m. outside the center, families will be provided with all the grocery items needed to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal in the comfort of their homes.

“We will be there until 5 p.m. or until our supplies run out,” Linda Robeson said. “We are thrilled to be back at the Scranton Cultural Center, as we had been for so many years prior, even if we cannot hold the distribution indoors yet.”

According to Robeson, volunteers will be plentiful to help load meals into drive-up vehicles or provide Thanksgiving baskets to those walking through.
Pre-registration is not required for the event. Those picking up are asked to simply provide their zip code and the number of family members in their household.

“Based on the number of requests for assistance we are seeing at our daily programming, we expect to serve more individuals and families than ever before at each Thanksgiving event,” Loftus stated. “We are doing our best to prepare for this increase. However, supply chain issues and inflation are impacting us just as strongly as they are the rest of the country.”

Loftus indicated that the total Thanksgiving food bill for this year’s programs exceeds $200,000.

“We humbly ask for your continued support as we work to continue this longstanding, valued and desperately needed Scranton tradition,” she said. “Any amount helps as we come together as a community to fill the gap.”