Giving season comes as inflation is expected to increase the cost of the Thanksgiving meal

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Several Hampton Roads organizations are helping families in need by distributing meals ahead of the holiday season.

NORFOLK, Va. — Giving season is underway ahead of the holidays in Hampton Roads. This weekend, several local organizations organized food distributions and others collected food and money to help families in need.

For many people, the help comes at just the right time as families across the country struggle with inflation and the rising cost of living.

“I just can’t be like, ‘Oh, I’ve got $5 left. Do I have to choose between gas and food? And then there’s a place like this giving out a meal. It’s something that is given by God,” said Norfolk resident Charles Pouliot.

Salvation Army officials distributed thousands of turkeys on Saturday.

“Yesterday we were able to donate about 2,000 turkeys,” Hampton Roads Salvation Army Commanding Officer Donald Dohmann said.

Then on Sunday, volunteers distributed 1,200 hot meals to people in need, like Charles Pouliot.

“Oh, that helps in many ways. Rather than going to the bottom of my pocket, I only earn $500 a week and that will be over $250 in food. I spent $50 on a few errands, which wasn’t even enough to fill two bags,” Pouliot said.

Researchers from the American Farm Bureau Federation said Thanksgiving dinner will cost 20% more than last year.

“We had a lot of people before inflation became rampant who were barely getting by. But once inflation set in, they were pushed into the realm of food insecurity,” said David Brandt, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and Eastern Shore Communications Senior Director.

Members of the Southeast Virginia and East Coast Food Bank said more families will be eating meals for the holidays due to their Mayflower Marathon donation event over the weekend.

“At this point, we’re at 730,000 meals and that’s counting when you factor in donated money and food,” Brandt said.

Brandt said many families who come to get food are asking for help for the first time.

Brandt added that the organization distributed nearly 2 million pounds of food in October, 36% more than the same time last year.

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