Each year, the Moorestown Home and School Association hosts a drive to collect frozen turkeys and fresh pies for families who need assistance during the holiday season.
With COVID-19 dragging on, the number of families who need assistance is higher than in years past, and despite a change in the collection location, organizers are hopeful the Moorestown community will still show its support.
This year, the goal is to collect 315 frozen turkeys and fresh pies. The collection will take place from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 23, behind the Moorestown Community House.
Renita Brady, chair of the Moorestown Home and School Association drive, said in a typical year, the event relies on flyers and word of mouth to inform people about the drive. Flyers were typically hanged on Main Street, at town hall and in other community areas, but with people staying at home because of COVID, the messaging has been more difficult.
In years past, collections took place at schools throughout the Moorestown district, but this year, the association decided to have one central collection point. Brady is hopeful that since the Community House is centrally located, it will make the dropoff more accessible for anyone in town who wants to donate.
To ensure safety, the association will have a limited number of volunteers who will all wear masks and gloves. Donors need only pull up and remain in their cars, and a volunteer will collect their donated items.
Brady said the process for determining who gets the donated items is confidential and determined by guidance counselors at each school. This year, the drive needs to produce about 60 more turkeys than last.
Previously, as soon as the turkeys were collected at each school, the volunteers would deliver the donations to guidance counselors, who handled getting the items to families. This year, once the drive is complete, volunteers will separate donations by school and distribute them accordingly. For the past several years, donations have exceeded collection goals, with some to spare for local food pantries.
While the need is higher this year, Brady’s hope is that the desire to give back is, too. She said there’s been a sense among community members that people are eager to help amid the pandemic, and the drive is a tangible way to do so.
“We understand that this year is so hard for so many, but just giving a pie or turkey makes a huge, huge difference to someone during the holiday season,” Brady said.