SCRANTON -- A Thanksgiving eve tradition of handing out food to thousands wrapped up Wednesday afternoon in Scranton. Family to Family volunteers estimate that that 15,000 people will have a turkey dinner on Thursday thanks to the program.
Family to Family is an appropriate name for the organized chaos inside the ballroom at the Scranton Cultural Center. Some families give. Some receive. All of them have one goal: to make it a good Thanksgiving.
"People in other areas don't understand how our community just comes together because they really enjoy these volunteer experiences and everything. And to know that you're giving someone a happy Thanksgiving, it's all worth it," said Linda Robeson.
Robeson and her family took over the program this year, but she's been bringing her son Ryan to volunteer since he was small.
This was the first time for some young volunteers who found one thing surprising.
"That there's so many people here, I didn't think there would be this many people," said Lily Smith of Scranton.
Volunteers will fill more than 3,000 Thanksgiving food baskets. They estimate they will feed about 15,000 people. And out of all those people, we found one common story: they need.
"You know, by the time you pay rent and bills and everything, there's like hardly any money," said Susan Finkle of Scranton.
Many are seniors on a fixed income and many are working parents.
"Actually, it's a struggle, even though you get food stamps, it's still not enough. Because they're growing, the kids, so, basically, this is a big help and it saves a lot of money," said Scranton resident Charlene Peck.
Peck planned to make Thanksgiving dinner for her three kids.
Jerry Birtell says the food basket will help make this Thanksgiving even more special.
"My nephew came in from California to join us for this Thanksgiving," he said.
Recipients stop at stations to pick up all the pieces of a Thanksgiving dinner. It's the baskets but also the company that helps set the tone for the holiday.
"There's so much love here, everybody is so gracious. It's fun, it's fun, and it's a great time of the year."