Hundreds line up early for distribution of boxed Thanksgiving dinners

Event organized by Reading Health System, The Salvation Army

Posted: 4:10 PM EST Nov 20, 2012   Updated: 6:07 PM EST Nov 20, 2012
Thanksgiving food distribution

Two local organizations are making sure hundreds of families will get to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal at home.

For many employees and volunteers of the Reading Health System and The Salvation Army, the days leading up to Thanksgiving are a time to help those who might be going hungry.

"Thank God to have something to eat," said one Reading resident.

For the past five years, the Reading Health System has been organizing the delivery and distribution of 700 turkeys to The Salvation Army.

"We start in July in order to get that many turkeys delivered at any one time. It makes you feel like you're doing something that is making a difference, and that's important," said Margaret Kipe, director of nutrition services for Reading Health System.

The Salvation Army and volunteers packed 938 boxes filled with non-perishable food to distribute to hundreds waiting in line on a first-come, first-serve basis, said Mindy McCormick, director of social services for The Salvation Army.

"It's pretty typical to have a pretty large distribution, unfortunately," said McCormick.

Word of the tradition spread fast over the years. People waited patiently on South 5th Street, some waiting since the early morning hours, hoping to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones at home, said McCormick.

"Be with the family, my kids," said one Reading resident.

"They want to have time with their family just like we do, and we're just providing them the opportunity to still be able to do that," said McCormick.

"I'm glad I got one. There was a lot of people here," said one Reading resident.

"When you drive up and you saw the lines around the block, it's very humbling. It makes you very grateful for what you have," said Kipe.