SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. With that, many families are in need of a special meal this time of year.
“Friends of the Poor” in Scranton is kicking off this year’s Thanksgiving programs. The Scranton Cultural Center is where it happens each year with a prayer service, Thanksgiving celebration and family to family basket giveaway. A lot of time and donations go into giving less fortunate families a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
A Thanksgiving meal can mean the world to some people, even if it’s not in your own budget. For 43 years, Friends of the Poor in Scranton has celebrated Thanksgiving with its community. This year is no different.
“There’s 1,500 people who eat in and 1,500 people who take out. There’s not a lot of room downstairs but it’s just a wonderful evening full of smiles and laughter,” Friends of the Poor president and CEO Meghan Loftus said.
That’s up from 24 people when the Thanksgiving dinner started in 1976 by Sister Adrian Barrett. Its mission has always remained the same: gathering the elderly, lonely and less fortunate.
“The dinner is more for adults and elderly, people who are alone and maybe do not have a big family to share the holiday with,” Loftus said.
The Friends of the Poor and the Family to Family Basket program came together on Tuesday to announce its mission for the holiday next month. The basket program started 33 years ago and helps parents and their children have all the right ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal at their home.
“We want to bring people together to enjoy a Thanksgiving and that just makes our Thanksgiving so much better,” Chairperson of the Family to Family Basket program Linda Robeson said.
For the fifth year the Robeson family is hosting the program. So far the family has ordered $130,000 in food for 3,000 baskets to be handed out inside the center, helping more than 15,000 people.
“We all come together for the greater good of everybody, and we work side-by-side,” Robeson said.
Both the baskets program and Thanksgiving dinner are in need of donations. Friends of the Poor say it only takes $30 to sponsor a family this Thanksgiving.
“Just $30 checks from each person in our community really get us to that $130,000 goal that feeds everybody for that holiday,” Meghan Loftus, President and CEO of Friends of the Poor said.
The three-day community-based programs will kick off Friday, November 22nd with an interfaith prayer service. The Friends of the Poor Thanksgiving Dinner will be held at the Scranton Cultural Center on Tuesday, November 26th at 6 pm. The Family to Family Food Basket give out will begin at 9 am on Wednesday, November 27th at the center.