PLAINS TOWNSHIP-- Hundreds of families in Luzerne County got a helping hand for the Thanksgiving holiday, picking up the all the fixings for a traditional meal.
Hundreds of bags were loaded with everything needed to make a holiday feast: mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie mix, and of course, turkey.
It was all part of the 33rd annual Thanksgiving food distribution by the Commission on Economic Opportunity held Saturday in Plains Township.
CEO officials said the food, purchased by CEO and donated by local businesses, will help feed about 7,000 needy families.
"There`s been a lot of people saying, 'I`ve never done this before. How do I do it? I just recently lost my job and could really use some extra help for the holiday.' So there`s definitely people out there that need it," said CEO volunteer coordinator Maura Modrovsky.
Modrovsky said more than 1,000 volunteers have spent the last few weeks packing the bags and helping to distribute them to eligible people.
For the past several years, Melissa Foley and her family have come from Doylestown to volunteer.
"No matter what you do or how hard it is for you, everyone needs a boost at this time of the year and my boost is the feeling I get helping everyone out and seeing the faces," said Melissa Foley of Doylestown.
Many families receiving the food donations said times have been tough, but all the food will help make their Thanksgiving a little better.
"I`ve been disabled for probably close to 15 years. I`ve been out of work, so this definitely helps," said Dave Wilkins of Kingston, who has three children. "I wouldn`t be able to get all the stuff that`s going to make this stuff good for my family."
BonnieJo Vanderlick is also disabled and has been coming to CEO for the past five years.
She and her daughter look forward to eating the turkey and said CEO has given them a lot to be thankful for.
"I`m very thankful to get food for us for Thanksgiving, for her too, and her birthday lands on Thanksgiving and I`m thankful for that," said BonnieJo Vanderlick of Edwardsville.
"What’s in these bags, wherever it came from, everyone through the lines, I’m sure they’re going to make the most of the ingredients in this bag and hopefully everyone`s thankful at this time of the year for something. No matter if you`re here getting your food or at a grocery store getting your food," added Foley.
This was the second weekend for the CEO food distribution. It continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the CEO facility on Second Street in Plains Township.