During the last 20 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut Foodshare has seen an increase in food insecure families in Connecticut. This year, Connecticut Foodshare has a big goal of collecting 55,000 turkeys to distribute to local families in need for Thanksgiving.
Miller Farms in Avon has already committed to donating 2,900 turkeys through its Thankful Turkey program. It’s a fourth generation farm that started in 1950. In years past they raised up to 14,000 turkeys on the farm, but this year they have virtual turkeys. The real turkeys are coming from Koch's Farm in Pennsylvania.
“They’re really able to do the best job for us of getting those turkeys. It takes a lot. We have to do this way ahead of time. So we’ve committed to 2,900 turkeys at Foodshare prior to a single turkey being sold,” said Capri Brighenti, the president and CEO of Miller Foods, the parent company to Miller Foods and Oma’s Pride Pet Food.
Miller Farms started this Thankful Turkey initiative last year, where families can buy a turkey for themselves and donate one to food insecure families across the state.
This year businesses have started stepping up and they have more than 40 partners in giving.
“Our business partners, whether they're banks or corporations or clubs, they're getting more involved because they really see the need this year, almost more than last year about what's going on and we've all heard you know, everything is up, everything's up everything short,” said Cal Miller-Stevens, a co-owner of Miller Farms.
A ripple effect of the pandemic is that food and transportation costs are rising. In addition, there’s more families in need.
“We want to make sure that every single person has a turkey on their table. There should be no reason in the state of Connecticut, with the state that we live in, with all that we have, that every single family should not have a turkey on their table,” said Brighenti.
Giving a turkey costs $40.
“People are stepping up in ways that I think is inspiring,” said Adam DeJulius, the chief financial officer for Oma’s Pride Pet Food.
The Miller family’s work plays a part in helping Connecticut Foodshare reach its goal and feed more families this thanksgiving.
“I hope folks know that when times are difficult, right that that people are thinking about them,” said DeJulius.