“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: