This week, over 75 volunteers and staff from the South Shore YMCA helped pack 1700 Thanksgiving meals to be donated and distributed to local families through the SSYMCA Germantown Neighborhood Center and to homes across the South Shore.
For nearly eight years, the South Shore YMCA has collaborated with community partners to accomplish this amazing feat, which includes securing Thanksgiving meal ingredients (imagine 1700 frozen turkeys alone!), building boxes, finding refrigerated trucks for delivery, and rallying volunteers to do some heavy lifting in a donated warehouse space.
Year after year, we see the same smiling faces reunite to pack boxes, many bringing their children and grandchildren to share the experience with the next generation of givers.
Volunteers create an assembly line of caring people who sort, lift and box up Thanksgiving meals all day and into the night. Fourteen items are placed in each box: a whole turkey, stuffing, gravy, chicken stock, seasoning, butter, carrots, onions, celery, squash, potatoes, cranberry sauce, cider, and rutabaga. Boxes are sealed, stacked on pallets, then placed in trucks for delivery the next day. Everyone has a job to do, from assembling boxes to cleaning up the mountains of trash from food cases and produce sacks. It is a big production to be set up and completed in one day. But, at the end of the day, each volunteer feels joy knowing they made it possible for families in need to enjoy a family meal on Thanksgiving.
“My family anxiously anticipates the day we can work with the Y to pack meals for those less fortunate,” shared Y member and volunteer Monica Horan. “Families who might otherwise have little to nothing for the holiday are provided with a bountiful feast… and we end up finishing the day with a wonderful feeling of helpfulness and celebrating the true meaning of Thanksgiving.”
“We tell our volunteers not to just fill the box with the items, but to pack the box with love,” said Chief Development Officer, Mary Orne. “It is a special package – one that provided an opportunity for people to gather with family and friends and share a meal together.”
One South Shore resident shared this note: “Thank you for your generosity and for your help during the whole year, it is such a great help! And to this fabulous Thanksgiving meal that has been donated! As I have just moved here and changed jobs, this was a wonderful surprise and touched my heart.”
It is an honor for our Y to be part of this experience each year. It shows that when we work together to serve our community, we can accomplish so much more.
The team at the South Shore YMCA wishes you all a wonderful holiday season.