Turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, and cranberry sauce are all passed around the Thanksgiving dinner table. However, some are not as fortunate to have a meal on this holiday. According to the U.S. Hunger Relief Organization, one in nine people in the United States are hungry. However, many Milford organizations are helping those in need during the holidays.
In the past, Foran has provided food for 350 families by collecting cans for the local Girl Scout and Boy Scout food drive. According to Senior Anthony Capua, “Participating in a food drive is a really rewarding experience, not only for yourself but for those you’re helping as well.”
This year, Foran’s Student Government is taking a new approach to the annual food drive. For students that tend to forget cans or do not have the time to run to the store, there is a new alternative. The members of Student Government will be selling hand turkeys during lunch.
According to Ms. Jessica Hoffer, history teacher, “The turkey hands will have the name of the person who donated on it and what Thanksgiving means to them. They will be hung up in a certain location in the school, most likely across from the library during the week of Thanksgiving.”The money collected will be used to buy food at the local ShopRite.
Capua encourages students to participate. “It is really cool to act as the link families need,” he says, “it is so important to get involved.” If students would like to find more information, they can reach out to Mrs. Hoffer in Red Hall.
There are many other local organizations beyond Foran that are helping families in need. The Beth-El Center helps lessen issues with homelessness and hunger in the Greater Milford area. The center provides shelter services and food programs. Some of these include 90- day emergency shelter, no freeze winter program, public soup kitchen, and engagement services and food programs to families in permanent supportive housing.
According to Jenn Paradis, from the Beth-El Center, “Last year, we served 29,000 meals in our soup kitchen, provided shelter to 128 people through our 90-day program and served 108 people in our no freeze shelter program.”
Although the Beth-El Center is open all year round, the holiday season is a significant time of year for the kitchen. Paradis reminds Milford residents that “It is very important to give during the holidays. Oftentimes, the donations that are collected during the holiday months are used all year round. We would also encourage everyone to think about giving all year round. Our needs vary with the seasons so please don’t hesitate to call us with your ideas.”
Another local organization helping those in need is the Milford Food Bank. They strive to feed those in need and to make sure no family is without food.
Sharon Brown, from the Milford Food Bank, states, “We serve between 120- 140 families every month of the year and distribute between 4000- 6000 pounds of food on a monthly basis.” As the holidays approach, the organization focuses on finding food for every family to share a meal together.
Although it is important to help those in need during the holidays, Brown notes, “The need is just as great during the remaining months of the year. Anyone who wants to get involved can sign up to become a volunteer in the Food Bank or volunteer when there is a major food drive in November or May.”