Saratoga Springs — For the better part of the last 20 years, the Saratoga County Opportunity Council and the community action group "Adopt-a-Family" have been helping local families, who don't have the funds, purchase food for their Thanksgiving meal at a low price.
With one meal costing $25, there are currently 750 families that have signed up for the baskets that include cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing mix, instant potatoes, apple sauce, corn, green beans, canned yams, a 5-pound bag of fresh potatoes from a local farmer, a bag of fresh carrots, a bag of fresh apples and a $10 gift card to price chopper for a turkey, Tofurky or ham.
Of that 750, Michele Riggi will be providing a Thanksgiving meal for over 25 families with her donation of $625. She has helped the action group for the last 10 years.
“Her support is just amazing,” said Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council Community Service Director Lillian McCarthy. “We’re very grateful for her assistance with this.
The program started back when Skidmore College initiated the idea and reached out to the EOC to put the baskets together. Continuing the helpful tradition, one basket size varies depending on the size of the family.
This holiday season, over 500 baskets are helping feed families in the two to four-person family range.
“We are one of the largest food pantries in the county and being the community action agency for the county, we service low income throughout,” McCarthy said. “It’s such a burden on a family, especially on a food budget, to add a holiday to it. We collect money from the community at large to adopt our families out and what we do is go around and purchase food, collect donations and do what we can to put baskets together, so when families come in they have everything they need to make a Thanksgiving meal for their family.”
Although the time for signups in the full month of October has passed, there is still an opportunity to get baskets. Since moving to the new location in Ballston Spa, the EOC will now be distributing them from the Living Springs Community Church in Saratoga on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, for “Last Chance Pickup.”
“Anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to come in and sign up for a Thanksgiving basket or maybe didn’t need one in the month of October, but now finds themselves in the circumstance where they do need them, they can come in starting at 9 a.m. in the morning and we will distribute whatever baskets we have left,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy added that there are always some individuals who sign up, but do not end up picking up the baskets.
For those who signed up in October and still need baskets, they can pick them up on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at the church located at 59 Pine Road (corner of Washington Avenue and Pine Road).
In addition, on Thanksgiving Day, individuals can go to the soup kitchen at the Presbyterian— New England Congregational Church, 24 Circular Street, for a full meal provided by the Olde Bryan Inn.
There is also the opportunity for meals to be delivered to homes on Thanksgiving Day by calling the main office at (518) 288-3206 or calling saratogaeoc.org.
If anyone wants to contribute to the EOC’s Thanksgiving tradition, donations are always welcome and very much appreciated.