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Free Thanksgiving food | YMCA provides 300 meals on Southside Hampton Roads

YMCA workers filled cars with the three tons of turkey they had on hand on a first-come, first-served basis at multiple locations.

NORFOLK, Va. — The YMCA of South Hampton Roads provided 300 meals across the area Monday afternoon.

The YMCA partnered with local churches and partners to distribute these meals. They had three tons of turkey plus sides on hand to give out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cars lined up around the corner at the YMCA locations to get the Thanksgiving meals with hundreds of families and individuals in need for food assistance.

Marie Clark who works as a bus driver for the City of Portsmouth says she also worked at the YMCA locations and felt like this turkey giveaway was a big help.

“I had to go on leave, so it's crazy seeing other people here, too," said Clark. "We’re coming out here because we need help!”

For Octavier Thomas at the Chesapeake campus, she helped the overflow of people looking for help. She says she wants to help people in any way she can, especially after seeing so many come to their locations for food assistance.

“I get a box, come back, there’s a whole line!" said Thomas. “A lot of people don’t have time to go into the store to get food. I like seeing smiles on their faces.”

However, this rise in demand is not a surprise for VP of Equity and Belonging, Caleb Cooper.

“Hunger knows no boundaries and I think the important thing is what we used to see has changed," said Cooper. "All households are in need at this point.”

He says the growing need is something he wants to help change, which he says could start with making this food drive an annual tradition.

“We feel like it’s our duty to continue with what we can to further our communities forward each day," said Cooper.

Workers distributed food at these health equity sites across Hampton Roads:

Effingham Street Family YMCA in Portsmouth: Starts at 4 p.m. and goes until all meals are distributed. The address is 1013 Effingham St, Portsmouth, VA 23704.

Brighton Rock AME Zion Church in Portsmouth: 2 to 3 p.m. The address is 1300 Centre Ave, Portsmouth, VA 23704.

Greenbrier Family YMCA in Chesapeake: Starts at 2 p.m. and goes until all meals are distributed. The address is 1033 Greenbrier Pkwy, Chesapeake, VA 23320.

Greenbrier Family YMCA in Norfolk: Starts at 2 p.m. and goes until all meals are distributed. The address is 2901 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23504.

According to the YMCA, any family in need was eligible to get a Thanksgiving meal from them. The organization said the event emphasizes the importance of addressing food insecurities throughout the community.

If you missed Monday’s meal give-away, the YMCA workers want you to know they have a year-round pantry at select locations for food assistance. For more information about the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, visit its website.