United Way Distributes 750 Thanksgiving Meals in Valley; Group Sees Need Increase

Hundreds of volunteers joined United Way’s 20th Annual Thanksgiving Project at 20 locations, including the Merrimack Valley, to distribute more than 200,000 pounds of food in over 11,000 individual packages.

United Way distributed more than 750 meals in partnership with Merrimack Valley Family Services, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council and Emmaus. Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera volunteered distributing meals at Merrimack Valley Family Services and state Sen. Diane DiZoglio and state Rep. Andy Vargas joined Haverhill City Councilor and Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce President Joseph Bevilacqua to distribute meals at Emmaus.

This year, the United Way has seen a significant increase in need, with 3,500 more families requesting meals.  The meals were distributed from 20 locations throughout Greater Boston and expanded this year to include additional locations in New Hampshire.

The 11,000 Thanksgiving bags from United Way include: onions, potatoes, canned corn, canned green beans, cornbread mix, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, rice, beans and an aluminum turkey pan. Families also received either a turkey, or a grocery gift card in their bags to purchase a turkey, depending on which site they picked up their meals.

Assembly and packing of the 11,000 meals kicked off on Tuesday, Nov. 19, when food and supplies were delivered to the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center and continued through Friday, Nov. 22.  This year’s packing week included over 1,000 volunteers and support from Bank of America, UPS, Wegmans, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, WinnCompanies, Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, Vertex, SS&C, Eze Software, Mission Hill Post #327, Toast, Putnam, EF, Ropes & Gray, and Goodwin, among many others, and included a family night and a young professionals packing night.

Since the Thanksgiving Project began, United Way volunteers and partners have come together to provide nearly 50,000 Thanksgiving meal packages to local families in need.