Salvation Army of Bristol serves over 300 families to Thanksgiving holiday food drive-thru style

Published on Friday, 19 November 2021 17:01
Written by Dean Wright

@DeanIWright

BRISTOL – The Salvation Army of Bristol aimed to serve over 300 families Friday as part of its Thanksgiving holiday food distribution in front of its location at 19 Stearns Street.

The event was held in a drive-thru style as families lined up in their vehicles along the road and volunteers placed food and goods in vehicle trunks or backseats. The event was held from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in brisk, breezy weather.

“We conducted holiday food registrations at the end of October and the beginning of November,” said Salvation Army of Bristol Captain Shareena Echavarria. “We registered 289 families. We have plans to serve up to 40 more families on an emergency basis so we’re excited about that. We partnered with Foodshare this year and got all of our (supplies) at low to no cost. We are hopeful that (distributions) will go smoothly.”

Over the course of five hours, the captain said they averaged around 30 vehicles an hour coming for the holiday distribution.

“We have 300 turkeys and 60 chickens,” she said. “We are having a Christmas Food Distribution on Friday, December 17, just like this one. Then we’ll have our toy distribution on Tuesday, December 21.”

Donations can be made directly to the Salvation Army at their chapel on 19 Stearns Street. Both food and frozen turkeys will be collected now through December 17.

“We are so incredibly grateful for our volunteers. This couldn’t happen without them,” the captain said.

Salvation Army volunteer Harold Huntley said in addition to the poultry being distributed, the nonprofit organization utilized a wagon of his to haul around 7,000 pounds of food to await distribution at the event. The prior weekend, he and others pulled up another 3,000 pounds of nonperishable foods.

“I love it,” he said. “I do it all the time, to help people. I helped with Brian’s Angels a couple of years and brought food for them. It’s what I do. My whole family likes to give. I’ve been doing turkeys for six years and (maintained the Salvation Army) yard for the last 15 years and drive the floats in the parades.”

He said he encourages everyone to volunteer during the holiday season and that it makes the “heart feel good. Definitely give. That’s what it’s all about.”

Husband and fellow captain, Emmanuel Echavarria, served alongside his wife, Shareena, and the other volunteers during the distribution saying that the Stearns Street location is more than just a center for giving. He said it was also a center of worship and social programs for those who wished to join a like-minded Christian congregation focused on serving others.

“Today, we have about 15 to 20 volunteers and they’ve been great support,” Emmanuel said. “Nobody in Bristol should go hungry. My wife and I have been privileged to be a part of Bristol for over six years and it is so supportive of those in need.”

Emmanuel said the Salvation Army of Bristol is still looking bellringers to accept donations for the Salvation Army in the holiday season and if any are interested in helping or in need of employment to contact the Salvation Army at its Stearns Street location, email emmanuel.echavarria@use.salvationarmy.org or shareena.echavarria@use.salvationarmy.org or call 860-583-4651.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Friday, 19 November 2021 17:01. Updated: Friday, 19 November 2021 17:04.