Think your Thanksgiving meal prep is intense? Chefs at local nonprofit Food and Friends prepared 8,500 pounds of turkey for area families facing HIV, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses.
Beyond the literal four tons of turkey, volunteers packed up thousand of pounds of roasted potatoes and cornbread stuffing to go along with nearly 100 gallons of gravy.
It was Deepika Chumman’s first year volunteering with Food and Friends. She got to the facility on Briggs Road in Northeast D.C. bright and early Thursday morning.
“I just really wanted to do something to give back and help people out,” said Chumman.
She and 200 other volunteers made sure over 800 families dealing with these severe illnesses had a Thanksgiving feast.
“Managing a life-challenging illness is difficult under the best circumstances, but for the majority of individuals receiving our meals, rising costs make it more difficult for them to pay rent, buy medication, let alone purchase groceries,” said Food and Friends Director Carrie Stoltzfus.
She told WTOP that more people have signed up this year to get a Thanksgiving meal.
Stoltzfus gave two reasons why they are seeing the increase: high inflation and delayed health care due to the pandemic.
“Inflation has been a big issue for us. And I think that’s affected our clients as well,” she said. “I think there’s families who would have been able to get by without Food and Friends. We’ve really been hearing from the health care providers that refer to us that people are showing up at the doctor, sicker. So many people delayed care over the past few years.”
Beyond Thanksgiving, Food and Friends is hoping to deliver 1.65 million medically tailored meals in 2023.
To get involved or make a donation, visit their website.