A YMCA volunteer loads a turkey into a trunk.

Tameshia Williams-Glover, with the Greater Ridgecrest YMCA, handing out turkeys to members ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Where it all Began

Did you know on Thursday, November 26, 1789, President George Washington proclaimed for Americans to participate in a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer? In 1863, 74 years later, President Abraham Lincoln encouraged Americans to recognize the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving. 

In 1870, Congress officially passed legislation making Thanksgiving, along with Christmas, New Year's Day and Independence Day, all national holidays. 

Today, millions of Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday by cooking large turkey dinners, spending time with loved ones and watching sports all afternoon! 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, rising food prices and inflation reaching an all-time high, many Americans don't have access to these holiday luxuries. According to the USDA, more than 34 million men and women, including nine million children, in the United States are food insecure. 

In Pinellas County alone, there are 118,890 food-insecure families and there is a 12.2% food insecurity rate!


Strengthening our Community  

Hunger does not have one face. It affects people from all walks of life and the Y is proud to support those affected by food insecurity.

This Thanksgiving season, the YMCA, in partnership with the Salvation Army of Clearwater, distributed nearly 400 turkeys to families in need. This act of giving provided families with the opportunity to gather around the table to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving meal with their loved ones.

This long-term partnership between the YMCA and the Salvation Army, started many years ago, when turkeys were distributed from the former Highpoint YMCA location. When that facility moved to a “without walls” format – so did the turkey distribution. In addition to passing out turkeys at the Greater Ridgecrest YMCA on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day, 100 turkeys were transported to the Coral Heights neighborhood for distribution.

Carlos Mercado, Community Outreach Director for the YMCA of the Suncoast’s YMCA without Walls outreach program, has been a part of this program for more years than he can count.

Carlos shared, “[For the Y] strengthening the community is our goal, especially during this time of year when we have so much to be thankful for.”

Tameshia Williams-Glover, Program Director at the Greater Ridgecrest YMCA, is proud to be, “Giving back. I love knowing we are making a positive impact on someone's Thanksgiving.”

Tameshia has been participating in a holiday turkey distribution for the last 12 years and is thankful for the partnership with Salvation Army! 

You too can join us in strengthening our communities by donating to help our neighbors build a healthy spirit, mind and body!

Published Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022.


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