In anticipation of its Thanksgiving meal distribution, Jewish Family Service’s food pantry planned to open at 10 am on Tuesday, Nov. 21. By 8:30 am, however, cars lined up outside the Sandler Family Campus. By the scheduled opening time, 25 cars had already been packed and on their way.
Recyclable bags, containing boxes of stuffing, cans of green beans, packages of pecan pie, and other Thanksgiving fare, occupied one table; produce, such as kale and onions, lined another. Through private donations and a grant from the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia, 75 turkeys were on-hand, along with chickens and turkey breasts.
Jody Laibstain, director of volunteer services at JFS, stresses the increasing need for food pantries this year. “Lines for food have been crazy. Shelves are empty now due to the demand.”
With the expected rain, this year’s distribution was held outside for the first time as a drive-through service. Volunteers packed 67 car trunks with the holiday meal. Each driver was asked how many they planned to serve at Thanksgiving – the responses amounted to 266 individuals. According to Laibstain, this year’s effort will serve 25% more people than year’s count.