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Friends of the Poor Provides Christmas Meal for Hundreds

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SCRANTON -- When you think of all there is to buy for Christmas, it could stress you out. It can be really stressful for families in need who want to provide a memorable holiday for their children.

A food giveaway in Scranton seeks to ease that burden.

"We've got the boy and his wife, that will be about it. There will be about four or five of us," said Robert Kisel of Archbald.

The food given out helps Robert Kisel's family and about 1,200 others have a Christmas dinner. It allows them to relax and focus on family.

"Well, my mom is coming from New York. She will be here getting off the Martz bus by the COLTS station. She'll be with me until January 2," said Jayleine Manzonet.

The families need to meet income requirements to receive a food basket from Friends of the Poor. Many people line up and wait an hour or more to get either turkey or ham and food that often stretches past the holiday.

"I guess almost everybody is, how do you say, hitting hard times because of utilities and a lot of other expenses," said Susan Finkel.

"I think the holidays can be so stressful in so many ways," said Sister Ann Walsh of Friends of the Poor. "I'm happy that we can relieve the stress, that they know that they can have the ingredients and cook and serve and enjoy a wonderful meal with their families."

Friends of the Poor has been giving food baskets over the holidays for decades. They have this down to a science, but the organizers say it's tough to get volunteers to help right before Christmas because everyone is so busy. That wasn't the case this year.

"We've had over 120 volunteers here today, and I really appreciate because I know the crunch is on three days before Christmas and yet they're generous to give up their time to the community," said Sister Ann Walsh.

You won't hear any complaints or feel any stress here, just the occasional wish of a Merry Christmas between those giving and those receiving.