SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Friends of the Poor is holding its annual dinner, to-go style and is handing out thousands of Thanksgiving meals Monday night in Lackawanna County.

Eyewitness News is a proud sponsor of this event dozens of volunteers spent much of the day preparing 3,500 meals for those in need.

University of Scranton student, Erin Grell wanted to lend a hand for the Friends of the Poor’s Thanksgiving dinner.

“I think this is a great way for Thanksgiving to prepare meals and make sure that everybody is fed and loved this holiday season,” said Grell.

The love is in the packing with turkey, stuffing, gravy, rolls, pie being delivered to 1,500 pre-registered individuals.

“It’s really important to be a part of giving back to your local community and making that change around you,” said Grell.

The remainder is being handed out outside the Scranton Cultural Center once held, pre-pandemic, as a dinner inside.

“We’re still meeting a need, we’re still feeding people, we’re still getting people out into the community and we’re really hoping that next year for 46 we can be back together again inside this room and enjoy one another’s company,” said Meghan Loftus who is the President and CEO of Friends of the Poor.

Loftus says the need has increased this year.

“There is a lot of people experiencing poverty for the first time. And I think is a direct result of the pandemic. Whether they lost their job or they couldn’t work because the kids were out of school,” said Loftus.

No matter the need these Thanksgiving dinners are for those needing a warm meal.

“It’s really about, you know, being one for other people and serving them,” said Grell.

Wednesday the Family to Family Food Basket program will be taking place at the Armed Forces Reserved Center in Scranton serving 3,500 families. To meet this year’s need of $150,000 a total of $60,000 still needs to be raised.

The Family to Family Food Basket program will start at 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

To learn how to donate and you can volunteer visit the Friends of the Poor website.