|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
||For More Information, Contact:
|November 24, 2010
Director of Communications
Probation Employees Bring Food to the Tables of Families In Need at Thanksgiving
Yvonne Tran, a recipient of the Newton District Court Probation Department Turkey Giveaway, and her children. One of her older sons is holding the turkey.
Woburn District Court Probation Department Food Drive
Probation Departments in Hampden and Middlesex counties are helping struggling families celebrate Thanksgiving at a time when the increased need for help has left the shelves of many food pantries barren and local charities unable to provide for those who seek assistance.
In Hampden County, Chicopee District Court collaborated with Springfield College AmeriCorps Program for the first time to provide 15 food baskets, which include a turkey and all the trimmings as well as food for a week, for local families in need.
“It (food drive) has really caught on. The food in the baskets is enough for the family to celebrate Thanksgiving and have meals for at least three days,” said Chicopee District Court Probation Officer Wilkinson said.
Chicopee District Court Probation Department has sponsored the Thanksgiving Food Drive for the past decade. This is the first time it collaborated with the AmeriCorps Program. The baskets are each filled to the top with a 10 to 15-pound turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, breakfast cereal, fruit cocktail, and cake and bread mixes.
A recipient of the drive, who did not want to be identified, said, “I am just so grateful. We are now able to have Thanksgiving dinner because of this.”
In Middlesex County, the Woburn District Court Probation Department launched a food drive to benefit the clients of the Council of Social Concern, a community-based human services agency in Woburn. Probation Case Specialist Mary Frances Murphy and Probation Office Manager Kimberly Hall have been coordinating the Thanksgiving Food Drive and a Christmas Charity Toy Drive, they dubbed “Snowflake,” for the past 10 years. This year, they collected $250 worth of Thanksgiving fixings.
Hall, who helped deliver the items, said, “We are happy to provide for families who are in need during the holidays.”
Woburn District Court Chief Probation Officer Vincent Piro commented, “Woburn District Court is an integral part of the community and it is right and it feels good to give back to our community.”
Social Concern Food Pantry Director Karen Colatrella said the Woburn Probation Department's donations were appreciated. Colatrella said the agency received a “record 425 requests” for Thanksgiving food baskets. Social Concern services families in Woburn and Winchester.
“We could not begin to fulfill these requests without help from the community. It is tremendously important. Woburn Probation really made a difference in making Thanksgiving a happy one for our families,” said Colatrella.
Middlesex County Probation employees hosted its 15th annual Thanksgiving dinner for senior citizens at the Cambridge Community Center last week, providing a full-course meal for more than 100 elderly men and women. Meals were also delivered to more than 30 shut-ins, elderly who are unable to leave their homes.
The four Probation employees donated their personal time to help prepare and serve a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, gravy, green beans, peas and rice, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, and rolls and butter.
Cambridge District Court Assistant Chief Probation Officers Ronald Layne and Timothy Kelleher, Middlesex Juvenile Court First Assistant Chief Probation Officer Stephen Allsopp as well as Waltham District Court Probation Officer II Deborah Stead joined the Community Center staff.
Layne said of his participation, “The Center holds a special place in my heart. I enjoy giving back to the community in which I grew up in and that I am currently serving as a Probation employee.”
Newton District Court Probation Department marked its 5th annual turkey drive for struggling families this week by donating turkeys to 25 families in need in the Newton area. Chief Probation Officer Kevin T. Galligan launched the program which “grows bigger every year,” according to Assistant Chief Probation Officer Richard Guzzi. The Newton District Court Probation staff collects donations and uses the proceeds to purchase turkeys at local supermarkets.
“Many of the families are recommended by different local human service agencies which the Newton Probation Department has been connected with over the years,” Guzzi said.
Several of the human service agencies commented on the Probation Department's generosity.
“Thank you for this program which is so helpful to our families,” said Susan Sklan, Director of the Parents Program at the Newton Community Service Center.
“I have several clients who are really in need and can not put a turkey on their table for Thanksgiving unless they find a generous donor like the staff at the Newton Probation Department. Thank you very much,” said Isabel Martinez, Community advocate at REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc.