Turkey campaign tackles food insecurity ahead of holiday season
In preparation for Thanksgiving, the City of New Haven distributed more than 1,000 turkeys to families in need.
Natasha Khazzam, collaborating photographer
More than 1,000 frozen turkeys returned home to Fair Haven families during a Thanksgiving food drive hosted by the New Haven Youth and Recreation Department.
The event – held Thursday evening – took place outside the John S. Martinez School. Representatives from various organizations in the city, such as the New Haven Fire and Police Departments, came together with community volunteers to help distribute additional Thanksgiving food items, including yams, corn and stuffing.
“It’s our way of fighting food insecurity and just trying to make sure families in our town have a great vacation,” said Youth and Recreation Department Director Gwendolyn Williams.
Ronald Huggins, a youth services specialist for the Youth and Recreation Department, noted that turkey prices have gone from around $0.89 per pound to around $2.29 per pound in the last year alone. He highlighted the role of the food drive in helping to support city residents in times of economic crisis.
“It helps us a lot,” said Fair Haven resident Camille Pierre. “Especially now that…a lot of people are losing their jobs.”
Pierre explained that the turkey drive gives families the “opportunity to come together” during the holiday season, providing them with Thanksgiving meals to enjoy together. Following a drop in holiday gatherings during the pandemic, Pierre expressed that she was especially grateful to be able to celebrate with her family during the holiday season.
“It has an impact, knowing that you can host a dinner for your family and bring people together,” Pierre said.
Other contributing sponsors include the New Haven Fire Department, New Haven Police Department, Firefighters’ Union IAFF Local 825, Quinnipiac University, The Hometown Foundation, Yale University Hospitality, Yale University Office of New Haven Affairs and 94.3 WYBC.
“When we see a need, we want to step in and meet that need,” the Yale Police Department aide said. chief of police Anthony Campbell, who helped organize the event.
Campbell pointed to the joint efforts of community engagement sergeant Martha Ross, who worked alongside the Youth and Recreation Department and the city government to raise funds and contact sponsors for the turkey drive.
“It really is just a collaborative effort,” Huggins concluded.
This is the City of New Haven’s seventh annual joint turkey giveaway since 2016.