Staff and volunteers at the Center of Hope and Kent Social Services are putting out the call for turkeys to fill Thanksgiving food boxes for people in need.
"We are 364 turkeys short," for Thanksgiving, said Anne Marie Mann-Noble, director of emergency outreach services for Family & Community Services, Inc.
That's based on an expected 800 households -- individuals and families -- who sign up for Thanksgiving food boxes.
Thanksgiving Day is Nov. 28
To help inspire giving, the Center of Hope and Kent Social Services will be sponsoring a Turkey Trot Marathon from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. People can donate turkeys and other fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner. Cranberries, canned pumpkin, Jello or pudding, cake mixes, sweet potatoes, stuffing -- all are needed, Mann-Noble said.
"Make it a contest between family and friends to see who can bring in the most turkeys," she suggested.
The Center of Hope is at 1034 W. Main St. in Ravenna and Kent Social Services is at 1066 W. Water St. in Kent.
"We still have two more sign-ups," Mann-Noble said. The last two sign-ups are set for 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Center of Hope and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Portage Community Chapel, 6490 S.R. 14.
Noble-Mann said Friday that the number of people seeking food continues to grow and donations are also needed for the food pantry that supplies families in need on a regular basis.
"I just finished my figures for October and I'm surprised to say we had a 27 percent increase (from September) in households needing our resources. In addition, we had 59 percent new clients that have not utilized our pantry services in the past. Kent Social Services had a 28 percent increase in households and 21 percent new clients (from September through October), she said.
In Ohio, one in four children live in a food insecure household, she said. On Nov. 1, SNAP household benefits decreased because of the expiration of a federal boost put in place during the recession.
While the "average" cut is $35 for a family of four, the amounts vary for specific clients. Mann-Noble said she talked to one pantry client who was cut more than $230 a month. "She's college-educated, has severe health issues and her son turned 18," she said.
While Congress is attempting to find agreement on a SNAP/Farm Bill, both the House and Senate versions include cuts to the food stamp program that will adversely affect children and families, Mann-Noble said.
Food boxes will be distributed on Nov. 26 to those who have registered and received an appointment.
Also, Mann-Noble said the Center of Hope's thanksgiving dinner is set for 11:30 a.m. Nov. 27.
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