About 130 Summit Hill families in need will be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner this year.
That's because the Sons of American Legion Post 316, Summit Hill and the borough's food pantry have teamed up again this year to help families who have fallen on hard times celebrate Thanksgiving on Nov. 24.
Earlier this week, officers of the SAL presented Rose Marie Armon, director of the Summit Hill Food Pantry, with a check for $2,000 to offset the cost of purchasing 130 frozen turkeys for the upcoming holiday.
Armon said the money will cover the cost of all the frozen birds, as well as offset some of the costs for stuffing and other extras that are usually found on the Thanksgiving menu.
"This is unbelievable what the Sons do for us and the community annually," Armon said of the donation. "They're like Santa Claus, a month early."
She noted that the Sons have been donating money for frozen turkeys on Thanksgiving since before she became director in 1997.
Armon couldn't commend the group enough for their generosity; adding that all Summit Hill organizations have been very supportive of the pantry over the years.
Joe Zubek, SAL finance officer, said the donation is the organization's annual community project.
"We are glad to be able to help offset the cost for the turkeys, because we know there are people in our community who would not have a Thanksgiving meal on their table otherwise," Zubek said. "This is our way of helping those in need."
Stan Karnish, commander of SAL, added, "It's nice that we can raise the money to help the pantry and people in these hard economic times."
To raise the money for this donation, the group holds fundraisers throughout the year.
When the Thanksgiving program began nearly two decades ago, 55 families received food packages for Thanksgiving. But rising food costs and tough economic times have pushed the number of families in need up to nearly 150.
The Summit Hill Food Pantry is a division of Shepherd House, an entity that contracts with government agencies to receive state and federal funding to help the needy. Shepherd House provides some nonperishable food items, but the majority of food distributed in the borough is donated by Summit Hill residents.
Armon added that the volunteers at the pantry are thankful for the generosity of the churches and organizations in the Summit Hill community because each group has donated either food, money or time to help feed families in need over the years.
Anyone interested in donating food items or money to the Summit Hill Food Pantry, located in the basement of the Summit Hill Heritage Center, or becoming involved with the group, should contact Armon at (570) 645-3604, or Sandra Hill, (570) 645-4617.