In the past, the Salvation Army has benefited from large donations from local businesses, either in the form of food, grocery store coupon vouchers or checks that can be used to buy food.
“In some instances when we run short, we’re able to use some of that money to fill in the gaps of what we’re missing,” Brunelle said.
The Salvation Army has been providing Thanksgiving dinners to local residents every year for decades. The organization provides full meals beyond just turkeys too, including mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries and other holiday staples. Families who register will be able to visit the organization’s headquarters at 40 Water St., where the food will be laid out in a grocery store format, and they can pick out the types of food they want.
“It’s a good system. We’ve found its more personal rather than just packaging up a box and handing it to them,” Brunelle said. “Now they get to spend time with a personal shopper who helps them select items, who helps carry them out to the car and who provides a more personal touch that way.”
In order to be eligible, families who register must meet certain income requirements and live within the Salvation Army’s service area. The Newburyport branch services Newburyport, Newbury, West Newbury, Salisbury and Amesbury, and those who register can also choose to register for the organization’s Christmas meal too.
Brunelle said there is cooperation between the Salvation Army and other local organizations, such as Our Neighbors’ Table in Amesbury, to ensure that their resources are spread as efficiently across the greatest number of people in need as possible.
With just over a week to go until Thanksgiving Day, Brunelle said he is confident the community will do its part to ensure everyone will be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, even if it takes until the last minute.