About 6,000 people will enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings this week, thanks to the efforts of the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) and a local grocer.
UAC and Brown’s Family ShopRite have partnered to distribute 1,100 Thanksgiving baskets to needy Philadelphia families. The families receiving the baskets have been identified by community groups, local churches and elected officials.
“Many of us are blessed with health and the ability to afford our own holiday dinner, and I think as a partnership we want to be a blessing to those in need,” said Brown’s Super Stores President Jeff Brown.
The baskets will be distributed by 80 community organizations to local families.
“This program is extremely special to us. We’ve been doing this since 1983 for 31 years, and over that period of time during the Thanksgiving holiday we have helped to feed more than 98,000 people,” UAC President Sharmain Matlock Turner said on Monday at the ShopRite at Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia. “We’re really proud of that.”
This year’s basket distribution is a coordinated effort with UAC; Brown’s Super Stores; AmeriHealth Caritas; Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown; Temple University; State Reps. Cherelle Parker, Dwight Evans, Curtis Thomas and Jordan Harris; City Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco and City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. Many of the items in the baskets were supplied by Pepsi, Glory Foods and The Neighborhood Bakery.
Councilman Johnson was on hand to hail UAC for its Thanksgiving basket program.
“During this time of the year, this type of initiative supports, inspires and encourages people in their time of need,” said Johnson.
The UAC works to unite government, business, neighborhoods and individual initiatives to improve the quality of life in the region, build wealth in urban communities and solve emerging issues.
The UAC joins a number of elected officials, organizations and businesses who are recognizing the season of giving by hosting free dinners and turkey giveaways.
State Rep. Cherelle L. Parker and the Kitchen of Love Food Pantry will host a pre-Thanksgiving dinner Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. at the Upper Room Missionary Baptist Church, 7236 Ogontz Ave.
Free Thanksgiving meals will be provided for more than 500 people Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. at Tasties Restaurant, 1214 N. 52nd St. The major thoroughfare will be closed from Girard Avenue to Thompson Street for the event.
“Thanksgiving is a time to show your appreciation, for what you have or can give to another,” said Barbara DeVan, owner of Tasties. “Many people in this community support us continuously, so if we can provide for those less fortunate, it’s our responsibility.”
In other charitable events, SugarHouse Casino donated 350 turkeys to 12 community groups that provide meals to those in need during the holidays. As a way of thanking its team members for their hard work and dedication every year, the SugarHouse leadership team offers holiday turkeys to each employee prior to Thanksgiving. The team members have the option of donating the birds to local organizations.
The recipients include the Doyle-Gerszewski VFW Post 8051, Elm Tree Post No. 88, FACT, GESU School, Hackett School, Holy Name of Jesus Church, River of Life Philadelphia, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, the Philadelphia Veterans Comfort House, the Penn Treaty Special Services District, The Salvation Army and Veterans Multi-Service Center.
“I’m thankful to have an amazing team supporting our customers and our city at SugarHouse,” said Wendy Hamilton, general manager at SugarHouse Casino. “We love our neighbors and community, and it feels particularly good to provide this many turkeys at Thanksgiving.”
Boxing legend Bernard Hopkins partnered with Price Rite to donate 500 turkeys to customers at the Price Rite of Camden.
“Hunger affects the lives of so many families in the communities we serve, not just this time of year but all year round,” said Jason Ravitz, vice president of retail operations for the Ravitz Family Markets, a family business that owns and operates the Price Rite of Camden and five ShopRite stores in New Jersey.
“With the help of a partner like Bernard, it is our hope that these turkeys make the holidays a little brighter for our Camden neighbors.”