Turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes. Cans of corn, string beans and gravy.
Those were just some of the delicacies low-income residents and senior citizens received Saturday to share and eat with their families as part of the 5th annual Men Aiming Higher “Thanksgiving Basket Outreach” in Prince George’s County. About 1,100 turkeys, 1,100 bags of food and 500 pounds of produce were distributed at Mount Ephraim Baptist Church in Upper Marlboro and VFW Post 9619 in Morningside.
Ernestine Edwards and Margaret Peoples were two of the first recipients at Mount Ephraim to pick up their bags of food.
“This is the first time I have been here. I needed the help this year, so I am very thankful,” said Edwards, 72, who along with Peoples reside at the Largo Landing Fellowship House assisted-living apartment complex in Upper Marlboro.
Men Aiming Higher, a nonprofit organization which mentors at-risk youth and young adults, is managed by state Delegate Darryl Barnes (D-District 25) of Upper Marlboro. Its annual Thanksgiving event started five years ago with 25 families; today, it helps feed thousands of low-income families through partnerships with Shoppers Food Warehouse and several community groups.
Last year, at least 1,000 families received Thanksgiving meals handed out at three locations in the county.
“Although we are only two locations this year, we are giving out more food,” Barnes said. “But this is not about me, or Men Aiming Higher. It’s about helping people. It’s all about giving back to the community.”
Several residents such as Glenn and Althea Doyle of Morningside praised Barnes and his organization for being able to help spread joy during the holiday season.
“My granddaughter signed us up to receive this food. This is truly a blessing,” Glenn Doyle said as he packed bags of sweet potatoes, cabbage and spinach in a SUV at the VFW Post. “We really appreciate this. We are going to have the whole family over this Thanksgiving.”