There aren’t many places to go in the Hartford area for a hot meal on Thanksgiving, but there was a line forming at Hands on Hartford shortly after the doors opened.
“It’s better than what I got from my family. They can’t cook,” Robert Edwards, of West Hartford said. “Yeah I said it. I’m at Hands on Hartford. They know how to cook.”
Edwards is grateful for the turkey and the stuffing and even the carrots.
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“I never ate carrots, but let me see … oh yeah," Edwards said. “What am I thankful for? Just to get a good Thanksgiving dinner because I didn’t have it where I was living at.”
“We’re one of the few organizations open on Thanksgiving to serve the community,” Brain Neary, a volunteer with Hands on Hartford, said.
Neary said they expect to serve about 200 meals. They can take them to go or get served restaurant style.
“It’s better than being in the street,” Stanley Smith, of Hartford, said. “You know when you’re looking for something to eat or you're looking for help for apartment. You come here and they got resources here.”
“Since last year, we are still seeing an increase in food insecurity here in the Hartford neighborhood, so we have noticed especially if they’re on meal program that we’re serving more families. We’re serving more women and we’re also serving older adults,” Stephanie Boyce, a manager at Hands on Hartford, said.
Boyce said the demographics of those they are serving has shifted.
“We’ve seen more of an increase in need across more of a variety of ages, genders, races,” Boyce said.
“I’m an addict in recovery so I know how it is to be at the bottom. I know how it is to at least have something so today I have something. I have people. I have a holiday, I have a nice community meal. I some good people around me and my surroundings,” Nate Hilton, of Hartford, said.
Hilton is grateful.
“I’m thankful for another blessed meal during these times, these troubled times that we’re in,” Hilton said.