NORTH ADAMS - The Transcript and Stop & Shop Supermarkets presented 20 turkeys, averaging 12 pounds each, along with all of the "fixings" to the North Adams Salvation Army on Tuesday - the first distribution of the "Feed Your Mind, Feed a Family" initiative.
"This is just wonderful," Maj. Ralph Hansen, of the Salvation Army, said. "We'll be distributing about 400 take-out dinners [tonight].
We've been cooking turkeys for the last few days. We've also been preparing about 100 pounds of potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots. These turkeys and boxes of food will help us feed the stragglers who come in and will also supplement our emergency food pantry."
The "Feed Your Mind, Feed a Family " initiative, which runs through Jan. 15, is a circulation drive that aims to feed the needy during the holiday season through donations to the Salvation Army and the Northern Berkshire Inter faith Action Council's Friendship Center Food Pantry.
New England Newspapers Inc. Circulation Sales and Marketing Manager Chris Oldham said 20 boxes of food - consisting of stuffing, a five pound bag of potatoes, two cans of corn, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and a liter of soda - would be split evenly and given to the Salvation Army and to the Friendship Center Food Pantry.
"We do this in each of our four newspaper markets," he said. "Each year the initiative gets bigger and bigger, but I think we're also seeing the need in our communities increase as well. We're just scratching the surface
The Friendship Center Food Pantry donated its 10 turkeys to the Salvation Army.
Mark Lincourt, director of food distribution at the food pantry on Eagle Street, said trying to pick 10 families out of its 1,154 members to take the turkeys would just be too much for the small organization, but that the group knows the turkeys will make it to the community through the Salvation Army.
"We decided that we wanted to do what we do best," he said. "We'll hand out the fixings, which will allow our clients to be able to afford the turkey."
He said the 10 boxes of "fixings" donated by the Transcript and Stop & Shop would supplement those received from Walmart and the North Adams Public Library food drive, which also arrived Tuesday.
"It's very heartwarming. We had a lot of donations today," Lincourt said. "Donations like this [from the Transcript and Stop & Shop] help us out because this is stuff we normally don't buy. We don't buy boxed stuffing and while we get rolls, we don't get brown and serve rolls. It's a nice touch for the holidays."
From now until Jan. 15, individuals can sign up for a one-year subscription to the Transcript's e-Edition for $49.85, add a one-year digital package (website and e-Edition) for $15, sign up for the EZ Pay automatic subscription for $11.82 or pre-pay for a one-year print subscription for $137.90. In return for each purchase, the Transcript and Stop & Shop will provide turkey dinners, with the donations to be equally split between the Salvation Army and the Friendship Food Pantry.
Last year, the initiative provided more than 1,000 people in the county with holiday meals.
The meals, which include a 12-pound turkey and the box of fixings, feed an estimated six to 10 people.
In addition to donating the meals, the Transcript will give subscribers a MediaOne card good for discounts on dining, services and entertainment throughout the region when they sign up for EZ Pay or prepaid annual billing.
Oldham said a second distribution will take place near Christmas.