SCRANTON – The organizers of several community-based Thanksgiving programs are asking the people of northeastern Pennsylvania to open their hearts and ensure no one goes without this holiday season.
Linda Robeson, whose family spearheads the Family-to-Family Thanksgiving Food Basket Program, expects to distribute food to more than 3,500 families this year and has already ordered more than $150,000 in supplies. That is $25,000 more in food than was needed last year.
The food will be distributed on Wednesday, Nov. 24, in the parking lot of the Armed Forces Reserve Center, 3401 Olyphant Avenue, Scranton. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and run through 5:30 p.m.
“We’re so grateful for every penny because we need every penny,” Robeson explained. “Five dollars and twenty dollars add up very quickly.”
The Family to Family Food Basket Program started in 1986 and has traditionally taken place inside the Scranton Cultural Center. Because of the need for social distancing, the location of the distribution will take place at the Armed Forces Reserve Center for the first time.
The annual Thanksgiving Dinner for Adults and Elderly, organized by the Friends of the Poor, will also see changes for the second year in a row because of the pandemic.
Dinners will once again be packed as take-outs and handed out to those in need outside the Scranton Cultural Center in a drive-by event on Tuesday, Nov. 23, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Volunteers will distribute the meals on the corner of North Washington Avenue and Vine Street in Scranton.
“It’ll be chaotic but it’ll be fun and there’s nothing more fitting for a Friends of the Poor event,” Friends of the Poor Operations Manager Brady Funkhouser said.
Initiated by the late Sister Adrian Barrett, I.H.M., in 1976 with 24 guests in need of a meal and family to share it with, the event has grown steadily over the decades. This year, an estimated 3,500 dinners will be prepared and distributed.
This year will mark 45 years of the Friends of the Poor hosting the Thanksgiving Dinner for Adults and Elderly.
The Thanksgiving Community Program will kick off with an Interfaith Prayer Service held the Friday night before the two big food distributions take place. All are welcome to join.
“On Nov. 19, at 7:00 p.m., we will gather at Temple Hesed for the first time since 2019 to celebrate the blessings we as a community have seen over the past year and a half. We’ll pray for those who still struggle and we’ll come together as a community in hope, love and gratitude,” Funkhouser noted.
HOW TO HELP
FAMILY TO FAMILY
A donation of $30 sponsors a family of four. Donations can be sent to:
Family to Family Program
PO Box 13, Scranton, PA 18501
Online donations can be made at friendsofthepoorscranton.com/family-to-family-food-basket-program
Text your donation by texting “Thanks” to (570) 525-5956
THANKSGIVING DINNER FOR ADULTS AND ELDERLY
Friends of the Poor is looking for donors to cover the cost of the 76 30-pound turkeys that are ordered along with other food and takeout items. Send donations to:
Friends of the Poor
Thanksgiving Community Dinner
2300 Adams Avenue
Scranton, PA 18509
Online donations can be made at friendsofthepoorscranton.com
For more information, call (570) 340-6086