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Local News

November 21, 2012

Pantries provide turkeys to families in need

BEVERLY — The line for turkeys was out the door yesterday at Haven From Hunger in Peabody.

“One hundred and fifty people came in to get their turkey today,” said Alyse Barbash, executive director of the nonprofit food pantry. “We were slammed. It was the most in one day we’ve ever had,”

Haven will give out more than 300 turkey dinners, fit with all the fixings, to needy families before Thanksgiving.

The scene was similar yesterday at Beverly Bootstraps, where families lined up before the pantry opened to receive turkey dinners. The community has come up big not only in providing, but even in storing the frozen birds. The pantry has room for 56 turkeys but has had 280 come in the last couple of weeks.

“We have turkeys all over town; it’s actually made us chuckle in a way, but it’s a logistical challenge,” said Sue Gabriel, the executive director at Bootstraps.

Wild Horse Cafe, the Beverly schools, Super Sub and others have donated freezer space to the effort, she said.

Bootstraps will give out more than 500 turkey dinners before tomorrow, said Andrea Jones, the program director at Bootstraps. Last year, the pantry gave out about 480 turkey meals just prior to Thanksgiving.

“It increased last year, and I expect it to increase this year,” Jones said. The biggest reason people need help is they “are underemployed or low-income,” she said.

Thanks to generous donations from other food banks, businesses and individuals, everyone who signed up and needs a turkey will get one this week at both Haven and Bootstraps, the directors said. There are even plenty left over for those who didn’t sign up in advance.

Families will also get stuffing, gravy, potatoes, cranberry sauce, juice, bread and other staples.

“The generosity of the community has been unbelievable,” Barbash said.

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