University Provides Thanksgiving Dinners to Those in Need

As holidays near, the University works with a local non-profit to help those in need.
University Provides Thanksgiving Dinners to Those in Need

The Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner, and this year once again presents unique challenges for many in our community facing food insecurity. To help serve those most in need, The Center for Service & Social Justice (CSSJ) office in conjunction with The Jesuit Center, has partnered with local non-profit the Friends of The Poor Scranton to help provide Thanksgiving meals through the annual Feed a Family project.

CSSJ and The Jesuit Center are seeking donations of $25 for the Feed a Family project. Funds raised will be used to purchase turkeys for residents in Valley View, Hilltop and Bangor Heights Housing Developments in Scranton. The turkeys will serve as the centerpiece of the residents’ Thanksgiving dinner provided to the residents. The University has set a goal of providing 150 Thanksgiving dinners with a turkey and along with a bag of other essentials for this meal including potatoes, carrots, canned goods, and, of course, a pie for dessert.

“We see are very pleased to once again partner with the Friends of the Poor Scranton on this vital project. This year especially, our neighbors here in Northeastern Pennsylvania are experiencing challenges that could prevent them from enjoying this traditional holiday meal with their families. We hope that this project will provide much-needed meals, but also a reminder to the residents that their community is thinking about them,” said Pat Vaccaro, director of the Center for Service and Social Justice at The University of Scranton.

For this annual collaboration, the University will provide the meals for the Friends of the Poor. These meals will be distributed to families in the three housing developments on November 15. This year, extra physical distancing precautions are in place for packing the meals. Work-study students and staff from CSSJ and Campus Ministries will join at the Friends of the Poor warehouse to pack the Thanksgiving dinners and deliver to the porches of 150 families.

This effort coincides with the 2020 World Day of the Poor on November 15, observed by Catholics each year on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. On this day, our Catholic and Jesuit tradition reminds us each of our call to overcome indifference and keep sight of those in our communities most in need.  The World Day of the Poor was established by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera, issued on 20 November 2016. This year’s theme is “Stretch forth your hand to the poor” (Sir 7:32). In his message marking the 4th annual celebration, Pope Francis reminds us that “Prayer to God and solidarity with the poor and suffering are inseparable.” You can read Pope Francis’s World Day of the Poor message here

The University regularly partners with the Friends of the Poor Scranton, including the Electric City Connection Project started at the beginning of the pandemic to address food and economic insecurity by providing restaurant gift cards to families facing financial hardship. That project, supported by a grant from the Scranton Area Community Foundation, is now concluding. 

Donations supporting the Feed a Family program can be made three ways:

  1. Online at by selecting "other" and typing in "Thanksgiving Feed a Family Program".
  2. By campus mail and sent to CSSJ, DeNaples 205B.
  3. By mail to The University of Scranton, Center for Service & Social Justice, 800 Linden Street, Scranton, PA  18510.

     Please make checks payable to 'The University of Scranton'

CSSJ and The Jesuit Center will also happily take donations of a frozen turkey (14-18lbs). Turkeys can be dropped off in the CSSJ office, DeNaples 205B on Friday, Nov. 13, 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. 

For questions or more information contact the Center for Service and Social Justice office at 570-941-7429.

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