Wanted: 500 Frozen Turkeys

Branford Food Pantry (BFP) is seeking the community's help in collecting 500 donated frozen turkeys for pre-holiday distribution. In 2011, when this photo was taken, BFP received an abundance of frozen turkey donations. The birds flew in after the community responded to a special plea to avoid a repeat of 2010, when donations were so low, several Branford families in need didn't get a turkey for their holiday meal. BFP's annual Holiday Food Baskets delivery is always manned with help from many Branford High School (BHS) students, including Emily McColl, BHS '13, and Tim Blanusa, BHS '12.

Thinking about that Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas feast? So are an estimated 250 Branford families counting on filling their holiday table with a turkey provided by Branford Food Pantry (BFP). To meet the need, BFP must collect at least 500 donated frozen turkeys, and soon.

BFP is reaching out to the Branford community to request the donations, in order to help Branford families in need have a turkey that will become the centerpiece of their family gathering on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and/or the December holy days.

As BFP president Wendy Cowles noted, each and every contribution collected is important because "kids, and the whole family, crave the tradition of a turkey dinner. After all, what kind of Thanksgiving does not have a turkey?"

With help from the Branford community, it can be done, said Cowles. In 2010, turkey donations were so low, the Food Pantry actually ran out of turkeys to give, and could not buy enough to fill all requests. The next year, the BFP put out a special appeal for renewed community support. Branford came through, with a wave of turkey donations supplying some 250 Branford families requesting help and enough left over to assist neighboring area food banks experiencing collection difficulties.

Cowles said the question for current members of the Branford community is simple: "Can you help us be successful again?"

Each holiday season, BFP tries to provide a 12- to 16-pound frozen turkey and all the "fixin's" for Thanksgiving and Christmas/the December Holy Days for an estimated 250 families. That's about 700 people, when you add up all of the family members who will be sharing in enjoying a turkey dinner donated by those who care.

Anyone willing to provide a turkey (or turkeys) can do so by simply purchasing a turkey and dropping it off at Branford Food Pantry, 30 Harrison Avenue (lower level, right side of building), on Tuesdays or Fridays between
8 and 11 a.m. Donors may also contact Jay Webb at 203-215-3533, to coordinate delivery receipts or pick-ups when necessary.

BFP has plenty of freezer space to store donations for both holiday months and hopes to receive all turkey donations before Friday, Nov. 22. Instead of donating an actual bird, cash donations to BFP are also gratefully accepted. Volunteers will use the donations to make turkey purchases.

Checks can be mailed to Branford Food Pantry, 30 Harrison Ave., Branford, CT 06405. Branford families seeking delivery of a holiday food basket from BFP must first call the Branford Counseling Center 203-481-4248 before Friday, Nov. 22.


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