YCSP Food Pantry Anticipating High Demand for Thanksgiving Meals

by Nancy McCallum

As Thanksgiving approaches, York County Shelter Programs’ Food Pantry faces a daunting task.

Last year the pantry gave out 920 boxes of food to individuals and families through its Thanksgiving Basket Program. Since March, the YCSP Food Pantry has seen an increase of 40% in the number of patrons coming to the twice-weekly food distribution, said YCSP Executive Director Megan Gean-Gendron, who believes believes the pantry may have requests for upwards of 1400 Thanksgiving food baskets this year. Each box contains a turkey and all the fixings for a traditional holiday meal.

Food pantries across the country are experiencing increased demand due to the economic hardships resulting from COVID-19.

Typically, YCSP’s Food Pantry starts its food drive for the Thanksgiving distribution with a benefit dance held in Sanford. “The Harvest Dance has not only been one of our largest fundraisers of the year, but it also signals the beginning of the holiday season for us – a season that requires a lot of additional resources in seemingly normal times, not to mention all during a worldwide pandemic that has rattled our community,” Gean-Gendron said.

Due to the continued threat of COVID-19, the 11th Annual Harvest Dance will look differently this year, and will instead be a Thanksgiving Benefit and Food Drive, to be held Sunday, November 8th. It will be held outdoors in the parking lot of the Sanford Elks Lodge in Sanford at 13 Elm Street, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. People are asked to come by with donations of non-perishable holiday food items. (All donors will be registered in drawings and door prizes held throughout the day.)

If you are interested in contributing money to YCSP’s Thanksgiving’s distribution, please contact Megan Gean-Gendron at megang@ycspi.orgr or (207) 324-1137. If you would like to make a food donation, please contact Food Pantry Coordinator Mike Ouellette at (207) 391-3125, mikeo@ycspi.org or Food Service Director Scott Davis at (207) 502-0520, scottd@ycspi.org.

Ouellette says he is determined to have enough food. “I just don’t want to turn people away,” he says. “That’s my biggest fear.”

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