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Nearing the Feed A Friend finish line

Making sure every family can put food on the table this holiday season — that's the goal behind WNEP's 38th annual Feed A Friend campaign.

SCRANTON, Pa. — The staff at United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Scranton is seeing a lot of new faces walk through the doors — people who are struggling and don't know where else to turn.

"Last week, I was able to help a family who just got custody of their grandchildren, and they were worried about how they would be able to feed their grandchildren this holiday season. So, we're able to serve them through these donations that came in from Feed A Friend," said Jessica Wallo, vice president of programs and services.

"We're seeing an increase in bigger families coming. There's greater need for them. This one family in particular came, and they were telling me how they could not afford to feed their families if not for this program. She wouldn't be able to put a home-cooked meal on the table. And that's huge," said case manager Jenn Eaches.

Food is collected all year long at United Neighborhood Centers, but efforts are ramped up during the holiday season as part of WNEP-TV's annual Feed A Friend campaign.

The goal is to make sure every family has food on the table for Thanksgiving and beyond.

Staff members are hoping for more donations this year because the need is greater than ever. Workers say they've helped more people between January and September than all of 2021.

"There's definitely a genuine need out there, and we see it every day. We appreciate any type of donation, mainly nonperishable items, in one of our barrels at the supermarket. They can come here to our office and donate. No donation is too large or too small. We appreciate even if you put one item in a barrel. We appreciate that, and it makes a difference," said case manager Jeff Ginsberg.

The generosity from our community does more than just fill the barrels with food for families in need.

"It fills a spot in my heart that I can't even describe; it's just such a great feeling," Eaches said.

"Bringing out the real goodness of people and the best in people is very rewarding and gratifying to see," Ginsberg added.

United Neighborhood Centers is just one organization participating in Feed A Friend.

To find a full list and all the ways to donate, text the word "friend" to 570-826-1616.

The campaign continues through Friday.

RELATED: Feed A Friend: Here's how you can donate to help your neighbors in need this Thanksgiving

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