On a cold Sunday morning last week, 13 volunteers worked tirelessly at Crossroads Family Shelter to distribute turkeys to East Boston families in need during the Thanksgiving holiday.
While the Havre Street shelter is better known in the community as a transitional homeless shelter for dozens of families and their children, Thanksgiving draws hundreds of people to the program during the annual turkey drive.
“The rising cost of living and strained budgets drive people from all walks of life to sign up for help,” said Christina Larcombe. “For many, the need is especially poignant as the holidays approach and they strive to assemble a special family meal.”
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, more that 300 families stood in line and received a free turkey from Crossroads. The volunteers on hand spent the afternoon unloading and bagging turkeys, greeting families and checking off names.
By the end of the afternoon, a few dozen frozen turkeys remained that were shared with members of the Most Holy Redeemer Parish and two turkeys were set aside to be enjoyed at Crossroads Annual Thanksgiving dinner for families and staff.
“This success would not have been possible without our generous annual turkey donors St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Brookline, St. Bridget’s Parish in Framingham, Holy Family Parish in Concord, and the Greater Boston Food Bank,” said Christina Larcombe. “On behalf of the East Boston community, and Crossroads staff and families, we would like to express our overwhelming gratitude.”
Also this year, the relatively new day care center in Eastie, Harbor City School (HSC), decided to forgo a Thanksgiving party at the Putnam Street school and instead conducted a food drive for crossroads.
“Crossroads works very hard to help families, especially those with young children, move from homelessness to independent living,” said HCS Director Carissa Hanagriff. “In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, the kids learned what it means to be thankful for all that we have and to share with those who are less fortunate than us.”
Parents at the school helped their kids pick out non-perishable food items on family trips to the grocery store to put in the big red donation box for Crossroads at school. Together the children collected one overflowing box of food plus three more shopping bags full.
The food was delivered to Larcombe and Maria Salmeron at Crossroads the day before Thanksgiving by HCS parents Brent and Benny Balderston.