More families turning to food pantries - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

More families turning to food pantries

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX)  It's easy to see how much LaVerne Brunson of Delray Beach loves her eleven grandchildren.

"I can remember everyone of their date of births. I spend most of my time with them," she said.

She's raised them for several years, since her two daughters, both single parents, entered school full-time.

The eleven grandchildren are ages 3 to 16.

She gets meals and pantry bags from Boca Helping Hands everyday to keep their stomachs full.

And this Thanksgiving, she picked up a turkey.

Thanksgiving dinner for eleven is something she can't afford.

"It is really hard to make ends meet now. A lot of people are coming here, more than I've ever seen before," said Brunson.

The kitchen at Boca Helping Hands is all hands-on-deck this Thanksgiving.

Last year, they carved up 280 turkeys for distribution.

This year, chefs are preparing more than a thousand.

The need has more than tripled.

"A year ago, you had both mom and dad working. All of a sudden, when one of those salaries is eliminated, in some cases both are unemployed, you have middle class families coming to soup kitchens," said James Gavrilos, the executive director.

Ordinarily, Boca Helping Hands is closed on Thanksgiving Day itself.

But this year, because demand is so high, they'll be open all afternoon, serving Thanksgiving dinner.

Brunson says the turkey will for her and others, allow them the dignity of a family meal and a full stomach on a holiday that's all about thanks.

"It's up to me to keep the tradition going. My daughters and I, we cook together, and we have a beautiful time doing it," she said.

Community groups donated more than 900 of the turkeys they're distributing.

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