News & Updates
Wednesday, November 29, 2023

‘Catholic Charities Helps Me A Lot:’ Agency Distributes 4,000 Meals to Families in Need Before Thanksgiving

Cindy B. smiled as she emerged from Catholic Charities Boston’s Lynn Food Pantry, one hand clutching a full meal bag from the Agency’s Thanksgiving distribution with the other stuffed in her pocket to keep warm.

“My granddaughter is coming to spend Thanksgiving with me,” Cindy said. “I can’t drive anymore, and my kids don’t live nearby, so she comes to spend it with me. Catholic Charities helps me a lot. I have no problem sharing that. My philosophy is, if you help me, I’ll help you.”

With one third of Massachusetts residents facing food insecurity, Cindy is one of the hundreds of clients Catholic Charities Boston provides food assistance to every week. Continuing the annual tradition of the Agency’s Thanksgiving Meal Distribution, Catholic Charities Boston once again collectively distributed approximately 4,000 meals, across five sites to families in need, working closely with several key organizations and nonprofits in the community.

Maureen Bleday, Chief Executive Officer at the Yawkey Foundation, was one of many volunteers who helped to pack meal distribution bags last Friday night at the Yawkey Center pre-packing volunteer event. Among the group of volunteers she arrived with were two of her young grandsons, age 8 and under, who worked tirelessly throughout the night to stock bags and transfer them to the delivery truck – their smiling faces and upbeat attitudes energizing the entire group.

“We as a foundation like to get involved and come out and personally help because it’s important to be close to the work and the people doing the work,” said Maureen. “We come to help, we come to be with the people that we support, and we come to keep the tradition going.”

Boston College also had a large presence Friday night, bringing dozens of student volunteers to help pack bags. One Boston College student, Kate McNulty, whose mother is on the board at the Yawkey Foundation, said she is grateful for all of the work that Catholic Charities Boston does in the city of Boston and beyond, every day.

“It is definitely rewarding to do this before the holiday season but even year-round, being able to give back, is so meaningful, especially as a college student,” said Kate. “I want to help out in any way I can.”

Beyond contributing a hardworking team of volunteers, Boston College – along with the Greater Boston Food Bank – provided Catholic Charities with an abundance of non-perishable items, which were packed by Boston College student-athletes earlier in the week before being transported to the five distribution sites.

While some clients were provided with grocery store gift cards instead of food items, most received meal bags with traditional Thanksgiving food, including turkeys that were donated by the United Way of Mass Bay, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Across the five distribution sites, which included the Yawkey Center, Merrimack Valley in Lowell, Catholic Charities South in Brockton, Catholic Charities Lynn Food Pantry, and Catholic Charities Labouré Center in South Boston, volunteers flocked to help hand out bags, greet clients, and ensure the distribution process ran smoothly.

“I like to help people, and that is why I am here,” said Fernando, a volunteer from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Any time I am needed, and there is an opportunity to help, it is a pleasure to be here.”

The desire to pay it forward and help others in need is felt by many of Catholic Charities clients, too.

One client, who lives alone in Lynn, said she will be sharing the meal she received with her two neighbors on Thanksgiving – one who is an injured veteran and another who is diabetic and unable to leave the house.

Another client, Sharika, said she picked up two turkeys – one for her family and one for her dear friend, who is the full-time caretaker of her daughter, who has severe disabilities.

“My friend wasn’t able to come herself because of her daughter’s condition,” said Sharika. “We were able to help her and get them a turkey and stuffing this year as well. It will really help both of our families. The struggle is hard; we feel it every day, especially this time of year.”

To find out how you can help clients in need this holiday season and beyond, click here.

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