Volunteers distributing 4,000 boxes of food to DC and Maryland families in need

This year, volunteers will be packing and distributing 4,000 boxes to DC and Maryland families, their biggest number so far (WTOP/Shayna Estulin).

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, dozens of volunteers gathered in a Silver Hill, Maryland, warehouse to pack boxes of holiday food staples for area families in need.

Project GiveBack, a community organization in the District, has been distributing holiday food packages locally for 27 years.

Founder Ransom Miller III says the first year he and a few friends raised enough money for 6 families and in the years since, their Thanksgiving food distribution event has grown exponentially.

This year, volunteers will be packing and distributing 4,000 boxes to D.C. and Maryland families, their biggest number so far.

The packages are given out at several locations throughout the D.C. and Maryland areas, including a drive-through pickup near The Shops at Iverson in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland.

Miller said the pandemic has exacerbated the need for donating food.

“We used to just focus on unemployed and really low income families, when the pandemic hit we had to adjust the focus because there were families … they weren’t making the money that they did once because of job loss,” Miller said.

Project GiveBack volunteers pack boxes of food for area families in need (WTOP/Shayna Estulin).

Families will be receiving holiday staples including, potatoes, sweet potatoes, boxes of stuffing, elbow macaroni and whole chickens. Turkey is usually included but because of supply chain issues, Miller said they weren’t able to source the 4,000 turkeys they needed.

Instead Project GiveBack is providing a $20 gift card so families can buy a holiday turkey on their own.

Volunteer Mark Brown, a D.C. resident, said that while it’s heartbreaking that so many are struggling, he’s glad he can make help make a difference this holiday.

“Just to be able to impact the community the way we are … it’s a feeling of excitement for everyone here,” Brown said.

Project GiveBack’s work doesn’t end with Thanksgiving. They will be distributing toys and books to area children for Christmas.

Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin is an anchor/reporter for WTOP. She started her career in New York City as a local TV reporter and has since covered foreign affairs and national politics as a Washington correspondent. She also anchored a nightly news show for an international network.

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