CCBQ's twenty food pantries are now serving twice as many families on a regular basis as they were last year, as more and more families turn to the charity for help. All told, CCBQ has served 1.2 million meals since the start of the pandemic, the spokesman said.
This year, the Cataneses stepped up their donation, despite the additional challenges wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to their regular 700 turkeys to Catholic Charities, the Cataneses also donated 200 to a local church.
While their commitment number to Catholic Charities was the same, the availability and cost of the turkeys was affected by the pandemic.
This year, Alphonse said they were forced to purchase larger sized turkeys than usual, at an increased cost. The reason? Smaller turkeys are flying off the shelves this year, making them harder to come by.
While many people are choosing to stay home and have smaller Thanksgiving celebrations this year, this actually means there will likely be a greater number of- albeit smaller- Thanksgiving feasts taking place across the country this year. People are buying smaller turkeys for these smaller gatherings.
For the most part, that shift left only larger turkeys available for Alphonse to purchase.
"On average they were 2-4 pounds larger," he explained.
Alphonse said his business took a revenue hit during the pandemic, since many construction projects ceased during the lockdown.
But he resolved not to waver from their annual commitment to donate the turkeys, recalling, "There are a lot of people in a position worse than us."
Alphonse said he will often see the same needy people coming back year after year to get their Thanksgiving turkey.
"There's definitely a recurring need, and you see people who truly need it...This year we're going to help 900 people. It's a small amount compared to the millions of people that are in need, but from our end we're doing as much as we can."
Alphonse said he is thankful that he is fortunate enough to be able to help so many people, and he encouraged others to help the poor as much as they are able.
(Story continues below)
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"We take a lot of things for granted, like food on our table. But when you go to the sites at the various neighborhoods and people come out with a basket … you really see that people are in need, and they genuinely appreciate this."