Friends of the Poor continues yearly Thanksgiving food program

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Thanksgiving is next month and each year a non-profit helps feed thousands of families. Friends of the Poor in Scranton is announcing its 44th annual Thanksgiving community programs.

The Friday before Thanksgiving, the program starts with a prayer. This year, interfaith prayer service will be held virtually. Then, the Tuesday and Wednesday before the holiday, the food is served.

Each Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Friends of the Poor prepares 3,000 meals for dine-in and takeout. This year with COVID, it will be a little different as more people are in need. The meals will be given in a drive-thru for those who can come to it and delivered to those who can’t.

“We’re saying 3,000 meals but we’re always ordering more food and going to be, you know, packing more take outs should we need them,” Meghan Loftus, president & CEO of Friends of the Poor, said.

At a news conference Tuesday, Loftus says while the distribution of food is changing, the meal is not. You will still receive a traditional turkey dinner with the same amount of love.

“We may lose the music, the conversation and laughter of our guests but we will never lose the sense of wonder and amazement at what our community is capable of when we come together to do something bigger than ourselves,” Loftus said.

The Robeson family is a huge part in that. They are ordering 3,000 turkeys and trimmings for its annual family-to-family food basket program totaling $140,000. Donations are what feed 15,000 people during Thanksgiving.

“The people who do not have as much and are still willing to give, whether it will be a dollar or five dollars. I mean, those are the people who hold this program together,” Family to Family’s Ryan Robeson said.

This year, basket giveaways will be located at Scranton High School.

It will model the program’s food distribution to more than 85,000 individuals during COVID-19 since March who may have lost their job and can’t afford a meal.

“In a year where we’ve been kind of forced to socially distance and kind of lost touch with closeness that we share, you know, this meal I think more than anything is very important as we come together again,” said Robeson.

To put all of this on takes a lot of volunteers. Friends of the Poor asks those interested in volunteering to visit their site and contact them. If you are able to make a donation, you can do so here.

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