FORT SMITH (KFSM) — This Saturday (Nov. 23), those in need in Fort Smith have the chance to get “all the fixings” they need to make a memorable Thanksgiving meal.
Antioch in the Park at Thanksgiving will hold its 5th annual event Saturday, November 23, from 10a.m. through 1 p.m. at Martin Luther King Park in Fort Smith.
An estimated 150,000 pounds of food will be distributed to those who need it.
Antioch says the event has grown from helping 1,500 people to 4,000 in just five years.
Antioch Marketing Director Ken Kupchick spoke about the need for this year’s event:
This year has added complication as our public school district has decided to take the entire week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. For families doing Okay, that’s a godsend. But our school district has 10,200 kids (and their parents) that rely on federally provided meals at school. Those extra three days off mean 61,200 missing meals. This translates to a stretch of nine days without those school provided meals.
Antioch for Youth and Family is doing what we can. We are facing a turkey shortage this year. We have turkeys for large families, but our smaller families and seniors will have to settle for bone-in turkey breasts. But to supplement meals for the kids, we have acquired turkey meatloafs, whole chickens, burgers, cheese sauce, and rice. In addition, canned goods, pantry staples will be given along with FRESH celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and apples.
Close to 200 volunteers will be on hand to help hand out food.
Kupchick says Antioch can host an event like this due to in-kind donations and some help from local banks, Walmart and individuals.