XENIA — Six-hundred turkeys are on-hand for the third Xenia Area Fish Food Pantry Thanksgiving Giveaway Friday, Nov. 22.
Just before noon Tuesday a donation of turkeys put the pantry “over the top on everything,” according to Gail Matson, pantry president.
Some turkeys are still at grocery stores pending pick-up, others — 230 — will be given in the form of WalMart gift cards specifically for turkeys or hams. Some larger families will receive meal vouchers to Grocerylan.
“I’m keeping count — I know we have enough (for 600),” Matson said.
Matson is expecting around 600 Greene County families to visit the pantry at 541 Ledbetter Road between noon and 4 p.m. for the giveaway Friday. Doors will open to the Media Room at 11:30 a.m. for families waiting. If families show up before 11:30 a.m., they’ll have to wait outside.
Each family will pick up two bags per cart. Along with a turkey, they’ll receive items like stuffing, broth, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, mushroom soup, macaroni and cheese, milk, pumpkin and pie crusts.
“It’s pretty much everything to make a complete meal,” Matson said.
Matson started the turkey event three years ago when she became president. The first year they fed 574 families, then 524. She said the pantry usually spends around $5,000 to $6,000 for the giveaway, but the community fills in all of the gaps.
“I put how much I need on Facebook. Everyone comes through. I always end up having enough,” Matson said. “I’m thankful the community supports us.”
Volunteers will be pack 1,200 Thanksgiving bags 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 at the pantry.
Anybody that already utilizes the pantry can show up for the giveaway. New clients won’t be added on that day, but if individuals come in on Wednesday or Thursday for food, they will be considered eligible.
Currently, families can visit the pantry once every three weeks. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Eligibility to receive food at the pantry is based on financial income. Interested individuals must bring a picture ID, proof of address if not the same as listed on the ID, names and birth dates of family members in the household, and approximate income.
While the Thanksgiving Giveaway is the biggest event of the year, it won’t be long until clients will be receiving Christmas boxes of canned goods and baking supplies. So Matson is beginning the request for flour, sugar and oil.
“Everyone wants those for the holidays,” she said.
How to donate, volunteer
Plans stand for food pantry operations to move from the current 2,200-square-foot location to the 7,200-square-foot facility at 774 Cincinnati Avenue by March 30, 2020. So far, the pantry has raised $135,000 of its $180,000 goal to cover building renovations and future expenses.
The pantry will host a Bountiful Blessing Bazaar fundraiser 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Greene County Fairgrounds, 120 Fairground Road.
To donate or sign up to volunteer at the pantry, visit www.xeniafishfoodpantry.org. Persons interested in becoming a board member can use the volunteer form to apply. The pantry will consider board member applications for the two open spots at its next meeting in January.
Contact this reporter at 937-502-4498. Follow Anna Bolton, Reporter @annadbolton on Facebook.