Family to Family Food Drive sees big turnout

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Thankful families lined up early and waited for the Friends of the Poor grocery giveaway

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — This pandemic has been a struggle, including for a local organization that helps families in need during Thanksgiving week.

It provides food in time for the holiday, traditionally doing the handout in an intimate setting. Some changes had to be made to meet these challenging times.

You could measure the need at the 33rd annual Family to Family Thanksgiving food basket program by the line of cars. It extended from the distribution site at Scranton High School to the intersection of Providence Road and the Central Scranton Expressway.

People being helped waited about an hour and a half in line including Micky Murphy. But she wasn’t feeling frustration. Quite the opposite.

“It’s a nice comfort knowing that there’s people out there who are willing to help,” Murphy said.

The pandemic forced this year’s food assist to be outdoors and socially distant. Some people looking for help showed up hours before it began.

“We actually we were supposed to start at 10. We started a little bit early,” Family to Family co-director Ryan Robeson said.

The Robeson family has been spearheading this holiday hand-up the past six years. Six cars at a time rolled through the drive-thru.

“We have people coming in and getting all their Thanksgiving fixings and everything they need to enjoy the holiday together,” Robeson said.

That’s a mighty tall order for so many cars.

“We’re prepared for 3,000. We have 3,000 turkeys and 3,000 of everything else to go with it,” Robeson said.

For struggling families, it’s a difference-maker, especially this year.

“Through this whole pandemic, everyone’s been really community oriented getting everybody what they need,” Murphy said.

But don’t be fooled. This isn’t just about handing out a turkey with all the trimmings. For Robeson, it’s food for thought.

“Thanksgiving is always a special time where we kind of take a step back and, you know, realize what we’re grateful for and you know I think this year especially where so much has kind of been taken away from us it’s still important to remember all the things that we do have,” Robeson said.

“Family to Family” made sure it had some grocery store gift cards on hand for any families in case all of the food was gone. Eyewitness News is a proud media sponsor of “Family to Family”.

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