By Jack Guerino
02:28AM / Tuesday, November 06, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — With Thanksgiving around the corner, the Berkshire Food Project is in need of turkeys. Lots of them.
The food project has provided a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings to anyone who wants one for years. Last year, it cooked up 24 turkeys to feed around 250 people.
Executive Director Kim McMann said the project this Thanksgiving wants to host two dinners Nov. 19 instead of one.
"That last hour is always quiet, it is not really packed," she said. "So what we did last year right after the meal I went through the dining room and I asked people that eat there all the time if they would prefer a different time and they said, yes."
The project has been providing free lunch weekdays at First Congregational Church for nearly 30 years. The Monday before Thanksgiving is the only time it serves in the evening.
McMann said a lot of people simply don't like to go out at night while others are only available at night, so this year people will have the option to eat between 1 and 2 or 4 and 6 instead of just 4 and 7.
She's unsure if this change will increase the projects numbers. She said the volunteers typically cook for 250 people but this year want to cook for 300.
So with this increase, there is a need for birds and McMann said people can donate however they want.
"They can donate money or some employees are given turkeys at work, so they can donate those, too," she said. "If people have a [Big Y] gold coin or coupon and want to buy another turkey and donate it that is great … whatever works for people. We want people to engage with us in whatever way works for them."
The project usually cooks an average of 24 turkeys of various sizes — along with 50 pounds or so of potatoes and turnips each, plus vegetables, stuffing and pies.
McCann added that people can also donate their time.
"It actually adds years to life. There is scientific research that shows that it can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol," she said. "So volunteering is a very important thing for your own benefit as well as the community."
She said people are needed any time between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
It's not only important to help feed those in need but to be together as a community, McCann said.
"It is really important for a community to come together and break bread together and what happens our dining room has people from all different backgrounds," she said. "We have people who would literally go hungry if they didn't eat here and others that make a pretty good living, but they want to break bread with their neighbors. ...
"We talk to each other and we begin to understand what is going on in the community and what those barriers are."