Thousands of Charlotte families are eating a Thanksgiving meal that was provided by food pantries. Beverly Howard is the director of the 19 Loaves and Fishes pantries in Mecklenburg County. Howard said they gave out close to 1,000 turkeys on Wednesday alone.
"The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for Loaves and Fishes," Howard said. "When you think about holidays, Thanksgiving is about sharing a meal, so more people need help Thanksgiving week than any other time."
The pantries tries to go beyond the basics and deliver not just a meal, but a holiday. Howard said most of the people they feed live in poverty, and many recently lost jobs.
The pantry in uptown was so busy Wednesday it almost ran out of turkeys twice – once in the morning and once in the afternoon. But trucks from the Loaves and Fishes warehouse kept the big birds coming, and then volunteers restocked the fridges.
"Whoa, this is a big one," volunteer Bob Warf said with a laugh. "This is a 22-pound turkey, so we’re holding it for a family of at least four."
That family was the Crawfords.
"My name is Lachandra Crawford, and I have a family of five," Crawford said. She was there to stock up on turkey, stuffing, green beans, potatoes – all the Thanksgiving essentials, none of which would've been an option for her if not for the food pantry.
She was there with her mom, and their eyes lit up when Warf brought out their turkey.
"Well, here's your turkey," Warf said. "This is a 22-pound turkey."
Crawford and her mom both laughed with delight, and Crawford kept saying, "Thank you so much."
"This is truly a blessing," Crawford said. "This helps big."
She and her mom wished all the volunteers a Happy Thanksgiving and then carted their food out of the pantry.