ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s the season of giving and one local community organization is going above and beyond to make sure everyone has a meal this Thanksgiving.
Primetime Ballers 585’s Adopt a Family Thanksgiving program allows community members, sport teams, or individuals to sponsor another family in the community, providing them with a Thanksgiving meal.
So far this year, they’ve adopted close to 550 families or more than 2,400 people.
“The community came out, they gave, they’re very generous. And what’s unique is we have 77 Section Five teams, from wrestling, to swimming, to basketball, tennis, cheerleaders, that all decided to adopt families, they do the shopping, and they do the delivery,” said Karen Inglesia, the Executive Director of Primetime 585.
On Friday, students through Unified Sports Athletes in Wayne County went out and did their own shopping.
“It will be a great opportunity for us to get out into the community and volunteer because we do volunteer in the community. And I decided that we would also adopt a family, our class decided as a whole that we would also adopt a family,” said Susan Goff, a Special Education Teacher at Wayne Central High School.
The students didn’t just buy turkeys to bring to families, but entire meals.
“We give the turkey, we give the ham, the stuffing, the corn, pies, everything that you would eat, I would eat, they would eat, because just because you’re in need does not mean that you should not have a really good Thanksgiving,” Iglesia said.
The shopping also benefited the Wayne County students, who learned important life skills during the outing, like planning and budgeting.
“Some of our students do move into more independent living situations and it’s very beneficial for them to have those skills in place or started before they venture out on their own. So we do a lot of activities of daily living, shopping, cooking, cleaning laundry. We also work on vocational skills in our program and all of our students have job sites that they go to. The goal is they’re all working toward job sites out in the community,” Gofff said.
Iglesia said the Adopt a Family program is all the more important during the ongoing pandemic, when families have been faced with economic hardships.
“We found that we have a lot more bigger families this year. We have families of 10 to 12 that are constantly asking for help. Because of COVID, people have come and moved back in together,” Iglesia said. “I have a grandfather raising 14 of his grandkids because he doesn’t want them to sit in the system. He doesn’t want to separate them. So a family like that, a family of 14 kids and one adult, you gotta help a family like that.”
She added the program allows families without transpiration a way to still get a Thanksgiving meal. Those who do the shopping are also allowed to deliver the food right to a family’s doorsteps.
“It’s important for people to see how other people live. It’s very important that people understand, and I want kids to see how other people are living. That’s one of the most important life lessons,” Iglesia said.
With hundreds of people already helping and more continuing to sign up, Iglesia said she is so grateful for our community, especially the students.
“Kids have rallied this. 80% of this has been athletes and kids and their parents, police officers,” Iglesia said. “We’ve teamed up athletes, business owners, restaurants, law enforcement… to do this as a team, and we are a team,” Iglesia said.
Goff said taking part in the program was something special their students could do to give back to a community that has been kind to them.
“Our students benefit from the generosity of the community quite a bit, and it makes them feel good to give back. It’s a very community-driven adult thing to be doing, and those are the types of things that we want our students involved in, so that they’re giving back to the community that gives so much to them,” Goff said.
If you’re looking for a way to give back this Thanksgiving, there’s still time to get involved in the program. You can connect with Iglesia over Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
If you’d just like to donate but not deliver food, Iglesia said they will take donations and do the shopping and delivering themselves.
Primetime 585 is a community-based organization that focuses on sports and community outreach. The group works with mostly young adults but partners with a number of local agencies to help make a difference.