The volunteer group Concerned for the Hungry will begin its 40th annual Thanksgiving Food Basket Drive at Schenectady's Keane Elementary School on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
The drive at the school, located at 1252 Albany St., will run through Monday, Nov. 25.
"Volunteering for the Concerned for the Hungry Thanksgiving food drive is a favorite activity for families and groups all over the Capital District," said group spokesman Larry Lewis. "Choose an activity and just show up."
The activities will include:
* Box construction, Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 4 until 7 p.m.
* Pick up and unload food, Thursday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
* Sort food, Friday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
* Pack food baskets, Saturday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Distribute food, Sunday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
* Pick-up and delivery, Monday, Nov. 25, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
In 2018, Concerned for the Hungry distributed four-day food supplies to more than 2,200 families.
"Thanksgiving is a time when families and friends come together to celebrate history and homecomings, with abundant and delicious traditional foods a large part of the day," Lewis said. "But for many families that can’t afford the turkey and trimmings, Thanksgiving brings the same canned soup and hot dogs as any other day. Imagine the holiday with nothing to eat at all."
Concerned for the Hungry’s annual Thanksgiving program ensures that hunger will not happen over the holiday period for Schenectady families.
"Instead of being served a single meal, this unique effort empowers people to make their own holiday their own way, by giving them all the fixings – and more," Lewis said. "Some of the families who are served are also volunteers who make it happen."
Lewis said job one will be the construction of more than 2,500 boxes.
"The next day, the food will arrive and volunteers will unload it," he said. "And on Friday, Nov. 22, we will sort all the food into mini-mountains."
Lewis said the biggest day will take place Saturday, Nov. 23.
"Volunteers of all ages, including Scout and school groups, co-workers, families and friends will wheel handcarts through the maze of food piles, picking up one item at each stop," he said. "Young children sit happily in giant cardboard boxes, handing up cans of gravy or packages of stuffing mix to the bigger people.
"As the carts wind through the twists and turns of the makeshift food warehouse," Lewis added, "the boxes fill with potatoes, carrots, onions and cans of veggies and onion strings."
Volunteers later will push and lift the boxes into a pile on the gym floor. On Sunday, Nov. 24, volunteers will add turkeys and butter to boxes and load the food collections into cars and onto hand-pushed wagons.
Lewis said volunteers are always welcome, any day and any time.
"It’s an unforgettable experience," he said.