Turkey giveaway helps 1,500 families have Thanksgiving meals

WILLINGBORO, New Jersey (WPVI) -- It hasn't been an easy year so far for Michael Crago of Burlington, NJ.

"Very difficult," he said. "I've been out (of work) since March."

But one part of Crago's year will be stress-free: his Thanksgiving meal. Crago was one of hundreds of people who lined up on Monday morning as Virtua Health gave away 500 Thanksgiving turkeys with fresh produce.

"I think them very much," said Crago.

A line of cars winded through the parking lot of Virtua Willingboro Hospital as the company's annual turkey and produce giveaway began. Virtua Health has been giving away the turkeys for the past four years. This year, due to the pandemic, they had to make adjustments for a socially distant turkey giveaway.

"Normally, we would have people walk up," said Dr. John Matsinger, COO of Virtua Health. "This year is a drive-up. We have people pop the trunk and put in the back what they need to make a meal."

In addition to giving away 500 turkeys in Willingboro, Virtua Health will give away 500 turkeys at the company's wellness center on Atlantic Avenue in Camden on Tuesday starting at 9 a.m.. Turkeys are distributed on a first-come-first-served basis.

Virtua is also giving away 500 turkeys and bags of produce to local community groups and churches. They know that the giveaway is needed now more than ever.

"There are people in need," said Matsinger. "A lot of people have lost their jobs over the last year or so. So it's our way to try to give back a little bit to the community."
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