El Buen Samaritano

Central Mass Town Square - El Buen Samaritano hosts Thanksgiving Turkey Drive to support community in need

Central Mass Town Square – El Buen Samaritano hosts Thanksgiving Turkey Drive to support community in need

El Buen Samaritano Food Program is hosting a Thanksgiving Turkey Drive November 23 and 24, showing thankfulness within the community by feeding those in need.

From support of the community, Executive Director Mari Gonzalez said that they are hoping to support 1,000 households for Thanksgiving. Beyond turkeys, Gonzalez said El Buen Samaritano will also be accepting donations of hams, fish, chicken, and more.

People can go to El Buen Samaritano, at 39 Piedmont Street, Worcester, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving day to pick up their Thanksgiving packages.

“With so many things going on, we have Covid, we have the thoughts of ‘Are things going to shut down in the winter months?’” Gonzalez said. “The calls are coming in. Everyone is getting hit.”

Last month, the organization supported 742 households. Gonzalez expects that number to rise for the holiday season. In just the first two weeks of the month of November, Gonzalez and the volunteer-run El Buen Samaritano have served over 320 households already.

“Food insecurity is real. It’s real in the nation,” Gonzalez said. “It’s real in our state, and it’s real in our city.”

El Buen Samaritano, which is celebrating its 30th year, does not serve a particular zip code, Gonzalez said. While approximately 65 percent of the people who use its services are from Worcester’s Main South area, according to Gonazalez people come from all over the city as well as beyond. 

“We get people from Holden, from Shrewsbury, from Oxford,” Gonzalez said. “Everyone is welcome.”

In the City of Worcester, one out of six children are hungry and one in eleven families are food insecure, according to Gonzalez.

“Everyone keeps saying that we’re getting back to normal,” Gonzalez said. “We’re not. Food insecurity has been an issue. Food insecurity is a conversation we need to continue. People are hungry in Worcester County.”

El Buen Samaritano’s mission is to support as many people as possible. During the Thanksgiving season, Gonzalez said that the idea of family and togetherness centers around the meals. The goal of  the Turkey Drive is to allow for the gatherings to take place and for people to be in the moment without worries of the food.

“Our organization wants to make sure we’re there for that community,” Gonzalez said. “One day it could be you or it could be me asking for that turkey or holiday basket.”

Since 1991, El Buen Samaritano has worked with the USDA, the Worcester County Food Bank, and other local markets and farms to support people in need.

Gonzalez said the United Way of Central Massachusetts and Maker to Main have already donated 40 turkeys as well as a lot of fixings to the drive.

To donate, visit ebsamaritano.org to donate to the organization’s PayPal, CashApp, or Venmo. The Food Program also accepts checks sent to 39 Piedmont Street in Worcester. Others can also come to the organization to drop off monetary donations or food, including the turkeys, as well. 

In addition to the Turkey Drive, El Buen Samaritano hosted a multicultural food drive Saturday, November 20 to support all cultures within the area, adding to a “food choice model” of food pantries to ensure everyone receives food they are used to and want.

Date: 11/22/21

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