Employees and volunteers for Miami Valley Meals, a local nonprofit food service, worked on Wednesday to ensure Dayton-area residents in need would be able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
MVM, in partnership with the Feast of Giving, which traditionally gives out thousands of meals on Thanksgiving Day at the Dayton Convention Center downtown, held a meal giveaway for the second year in a row. Freshly prepared-then-frozen meals were given out via drive-thru stations at multiple locations in the Dayton area.
Dayton resident Kelly Williamson picked up a meal from the University of Dayton Arena location Wednesday. Williamson, 60, said she appreciates the generosity of MVM and its volunteers.
“It’s a blessing. There are so many people out there right now that need help, especially the elderly,” she said. “This is what Dayton is–it’s a blessing from God to show how much people care, and the people volunteering and taking their time to do this is just wonderful.”
Williamson said she receives food stamps and can typically make due without visiting food pantries.
“Some people are waiting until their food stamps (reload) on a certain date, so that’s why I’m here,” she said. “This is helping so many people smile at Thanksgiving and it’s a time to be thankful and grateful.”
Miami Valley Meals culinary director Matthew DeAngulo was on site at the University of Dayton Arena drive-thru Wednesday, and said the organization was happy to step in last year when the Feast of Giving was canceled.
“Everyone needs to have a meal on Thanksgiving; everyone needs a meal every day, but we want to make sure they have food tomorrow,” DeAngulo said. “We hope it gives them a sense of family even if they don’t get to have that family Thanksgiving dinner.”
MVM employs several professional chefs who have worked to prepare all the meals distributed by the organization as opposed to giving out turkeys and ingredients for recipients to prepare themselves.
“There’s a lot of people we reach out to and help who don’t necessarily understand how to cook full turkeys and things. With this, they just have to heat it up and enjoy it,” DeAngulo said. “We have executive chefs who are very talented making this food, but we also get to say, ‘You don’t need to worry today, you just get to sit back and enjoy your Thanksgiving.’”
DeAngulo said no food from this year’s giveaway will be wasted, with any leftover going to local food banks and pantries for distribution.
“It’s just about making sure anyone who woke up hungry doesn’t go to bed hungry,” he said.
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