By Brittany Polito
10:25AM / Monday, November 22, 2021
Harris puts in manual labor to bring the produce and other foods into South Congregational Church.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — About 1,600 local families will have turkey day feasts on the table thanks to a collaboration between Berkshire Money Management and the Thanksgiving Angels.
On Friday, BMM presented the organization with a big $25,000 check, doubling its fundraising efforts during a year of increased need. The funds are a match to what the organization was able to gather.
"The Thanksgiving Angels needed roughly $50,000 this year to supply the amount of food for people who are in need this year, and I figured it would be really hard for them to do it this year because it's going to be harder to attain that food because of food prices, and that's going to reduce people's disposable income," founder and CEO Allen Harris said.
"So we thought that what we do is approach the Thanksgiving Angels since and say, 'we'll donate $25,000 as a matching campaign, what we would like to do is keep as much as we can of that local, so if you can match it $25,000, I'll give this $25,000 and Wohrle's will supply that food.'"
Thanksgiving Angels is a joint effort between more than 20 food pantries, organizations, and faith communities that provide turkeys and all of the sides to residents in need.
The food was sourced from Wohrle's, filling up two whole box trucks. Volunteers were buzzing around the South Congregational Church's supply room, unloading the mass quantities of carrots, onions, potatoes, squash, and more.
Program coordinator Mary Wheat was astonished by the amount of food that was coming in. Wheat also runs the church's regular food pantry.
"It's a very very generous donation," she said, "It made it possible for 1,600 families to have a nutritious Thanksgiving."
Wheat explained that the Thanksgiving Angels will make about 500 deliveries before the holiday and grab and families will pick up meals in a "grab and go" format on Monday and Tuesday. Last year, there were about 300 volunteers who contributed to the effort.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many households, causing unemployment and food insecurity. This year, there was an increased need for turkeys and sides.
A member of the BMM team, Stacey Carver, has worked with the group for a long time and saw the increased need for groceries firsthand.
Years ago, the money management firm used to hold their own turkey distribution where they gave the bird to families in need along with gift certificates for the fixings. Harris said he found it was easier if the two entities coordinate together.
This donation added another zero to BMM's 2018 contribution of $2,500 and countless more full stomachs.