Everyone Will Have Turkey This Thanksgiving

With no shortage of birds this year, the Food Pantry was able to serve more clients than ever through their home delivery program for the holiday.

“We’re so proud of the people of Branford,” said Ann Marie Ammann, board member of the . “It’s unbelievable how many turkeys walked through our door.”

Stationed yesterday morning in the sorting area of the Pantry, Ammann watched as her husband John Ammann lug more than 200 frozen turkeys from the freezer into the waiting and ready hands of who added them to Thanksgiving meal boxes ready for home delivery.

Wendy Cowles, President of the Food Pantry, shared that Branford residents donated 700 turkeys for the holidays. Two people brought 11 turkeys each and a . This is the most turkeys the pantry has ever collected at one time for the holidays.

Last year, the pantry was short turkeys and volunteers had to go out to the grocery story and purchase any turkeys they could find and chickens when the stores ran out of turkeys. Cowles said she was overwhelmed by the donations. John said of the extra 202 turkeys donated, “We weren’t expecting that.”

For this Thanksgiving, about 200 meals were delivered yesterday to people’s homes and another 46 or more were picked-up at the pantry. This year the pantry is serving at least five more families than last year and it’s an all-time record for the food center. For Christmas, Cowles said she anticipates the same number of turkeys and meals to be distributed as this week.

Getting 200 meals out to Branford families is no easy task, Ammnn and Food Pantry board member Joan Mansfield explained. Three weeks ago they began collecting and assembling boxes to package the dry goods for the meals. Two-hundred and forty boxes later, the ladies said they were ready to begin filling them. Each box was loaded with enough dry goods to serve about a four-person family and the last step was for fresh veggies, potatoes and the turkeys to be added.

Once the boxes were packed with all the items to make a meal, students working in the basement stocked carts full of the boxes and loaded them onto a conveyor belt. The belt took the boxes up to the loading dock where volunteer Liam Cotter oversaw a group of students who loaded the boxes into waiting cars. A group of burly high school boys tossed the turkeys into the vehicles along with the boxes. All together, 23 volunteer drivers, assisted by students delivering the boxes, made 27 trips to meal recipients throughout town. Each student received three hours of community service for their efforts.

Participating for the first time as a senior, Jeff Grande said, between tossing turkeys, “This is a great experience, to help people. It’s just a great thing to do.”

Food Boxes Contents

5 lbs potatoes
2 lbs carrots
3 lbs onions
3 lbs apples
1 lb margarine
1 frozen OJ 
2 cans of vegetable
2 boxes of Jello
1 can of cranberry sauce
1 package of pie filling and crust
1 can of coffee

The Food Pantry is in need of the following items for regular service:

Peanut Butter
Dry cereal
Canned soup


Steve from SAAC November 23, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Awesome! Nice work!
Jennifer Coombs November 23, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Sending a BIG THANK YOU to John and Ann Marie Ammann for all the time they spend at the food pantry, and to all the volunteers!!!! John & Ann Marie are my parents and I know first hand how hard they work at the pantry. Even When my 9 year old son Walter has days of from school you will find him at the food pantry helping out, he has been going for years thanks to my mom & dad! Thank you to all that made donations! Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Wendy Cowles November 24, 2011 at 01:03 PM
I just want to thank all the people who worked so hard these last few weeks and to all the people who were so generous with all their donations. The spirit of Thanksgiving surely came through this year.
Wendy Cowles December 20, 2011 at 03:44 PM
In case anyone saw a notice that we need turkeys for Christmas, we don't. We had ample turkeys from Thanksgiving to help us with Christmas. Thanks to all who donated to us.


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