PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Some 1,400 local families will have full tables for Thanksgiving.
For the fourth year, a collaboration of 16 community organizations and religious groups have teamed up to hand out thousands of pounds of food — including turkey, stuffing, beans, corn, produce, cheese, and pies.
"It is a community effort," said Mary Wheat, of South Congregational Church.
In the past, the various groups held their own food drives for Thanksgiving but four years ago the Christian Center headed the effort to bring it under one roof. The following year, the event was moved to South Congregational Church because it had more space.
"Everybody was doing their own thing. We decided to combine because some people weren't getting enough [food to distribute] and others were getting too much," Wheat said.
Now each of the groups are given an assignment to collect a certain good or money. In the first year, some 700 families were served and that has grown to this year, when twice as many will receive food.
On Monday, a line of those who signed up to receive the holiday fare extended through the parking lot and onto Church Street. Inside a volunteers — who included city and state elected officials — manned tables to pass out as much as as each family needs for the holiday.
The distribution started at 11:30 but Wheat said families began arriving and lining up at 7:15 in the morning.
"We have more food this year," Wheat said. "Our pantry is bigger than it has ever been."
South Congregational Church runs its own pantry, which feeds 400 to 500 families a week. But, the Thanksgiving effort combines the efforts of First United Methodist, First Congregational, First Baptist, St. Stephen's, St. Mark's, Sacred Heart, St. Charles', St. Nicholas' Orthodox, St. George's Greek Orthodox, Soldier On, The Christian Center, Salvation Army, Congregation Knesset Israel, Giving Garden of Pittsfield Church of Christ and Berkshire Community Action Council.
The food is available for residents in all of Berkshire County, but Wheat said the majority of those receiving food are from Pittsfield.
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