Thanksgiving. It’s a time when family, friends and loved ones come together, united by a large, traditional meal that takes center stage. But for those in need, the holiday can be fraught with worry, as they struggle with stretching already-limited resources to prepare a memorable meal for their families.

Last year at this time, as the holiday was drawing closer, Anna, a senior citizen with a limited income, realized she would be hard-pressed to afford a Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings for her son and her grandchildren.

“I called 2-1-1 because I needed help to make Thanksgiving special for my family,” said Anna. “The woman I talked to was very pleasant and helpful, and it was easy to register and get our dinner.”

For the past 24 years, United Way of Central Maryland has made the dream of a Thanksgiving dinner a reality for thousands of low-income families and individuals through its Harvest of Plenty program. Families register for a meal by calling the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline.  Last year, 4,000 Thanksgiving meals were distributed to low income families, supported by more than 60 volunteers and 30 partner organizations.

Anna was able to pick up her meal basket at a church close to her home. This year, meals will be distributed to pre-registered families at 23 locations in central Maryland, including social service agencies, faith-based providers, community action agencies and partner outreach programs.

“The basket was wonderful, and included everything and more that I needed to make Thanksgiving dinner,” said Anna. “I was able to serve not only my son and two grandchildren, but two neighbors who are disabled and who recently lost a close relative. Being able to help my neighbors made this Thanksgiving even more meaningful to me.”

You can help make this Thanksgiving meaningful for central Maryland families in need. A donation of only $25 provides a 10-12-pound turkey and all the staple items needed to create a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, our goal is to distribute 4,200 meals to low-income families this year. It’s just one of the ways we’re working to change the odds for the more than 345,000 residents across central Maryland who don’t have access to one of the building blocks of a healthy life: affordable, nutritious food.

No one can create change alone. That’s why we need you! Please make your donation today and give the gift of a happy Thanksgiving to a family in need.

Other stories

Owen’s Story
Cherice’s Story
Victoria’s Story
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For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, Maryland.

United Way of Central Maryland is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization! | Tax ID: 52-0591543