BALTIMORE — United Way of Central Maryland launched its 25th annual Harvest of Plenty campaign on November 2, 2017, and invites area residents to help families in need have a traditional family Thanksgiving this year.
In celebration of its 25th year, for just $25, individuals can provide a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings to a local family. This year’s goal is to provide 4,000 Thanksgiving dinners to area families.
“This Thanksgiving, as on every Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will gather around the table surrounded by friends and family as they enjoy a Thanksgiving meal,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “But there are thousands more in central Maryland fighting to make ends meet, for whom celebrating Thanksgiving seems impossible. It is our mission to ensure that these families can gather their families together around the dinner table, and celebrate Thanksgiving. We’re asking our donors to help make this 25th anniversary year of Harvest of Plenty a success by joining the fight to lift the spirits of struggling families in our local communities.”
Earlier this year, United Ways in Maryland released the ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report, which revealed that nearly 750,000 cannot afford the state’s high cost of living and don’t earn enough to afford basic necessities like childcare, and groceries for a celebratory meal like Thanksgiving.
A donation of just $25 will provide a family in need the opportunity to enjoy a memorable holiday with their loved ones. That $25 donation supplies a full meal for low-income families including traditional Thanksgiving meal items like turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes and stuffing.
“Harvest of Plenty ensured that Thanksgiving was a special time for my family last year,” said Emily,*, a participant of the Harvest of Plenty 2016 initiative. Last Thanksgiving, Emily was pregnant and in need of help for the holiday. She began having contractions on the day she picked up her food, so she worked until the early hours of the morning to prepare everything. “Although I wasn’t there to actually enjoy the meal, my family was taken care of and they even saved me some when I came back home. I am so grateful to the Harvest of Plenty program for ensuring that my family was able to partake in this Thanksgiving tradition.”
“Unlike other Thanksgiving meal programs, Harvest of Plenty participants get to enjoy the meals they receive in the comfort of their own home,” Baker said. “All individuals have to do is call our 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline to register.”
Beginning November 6, 2017, families were able to call the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. to register for a Thanksgiving meal. The helpline will screen callers for eligibility and will refer eligible callers to participating sites to pick up their meal. The 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week confidential informational and referral service that connects Marylanders with resources for food, housing, health care, and other human service needs.
The meals will be distributed to pre-registered families from November 14 – 21 at 26 locations throughout central Maryland including social service agencies, faith-based providers, community action agencies and partner outreach programs.
To donate a Thanksgiving meal to a family in need this season, visit: www.uwcm.org/givethanks.