Denton County Friends of the Family again will be hosting its annual Thanksgiving Drive for the area, with plans to put together and donate meal kits for 350 families this year.

The nonprofit organization, which provides support and services to families and people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, has been active for over 40 years. Friends of the Family started in 1980 with a single 900-square-foot shelter, two employees and a team of 32 volunteers and has grown to a team of 70 employees and over 600 yearly volunteers, with a 4,400-square-foot shelter. The organization has been running the annual Thanksgiving Drive for over 20 years.

Stephanie Honeycutt, the community resource director for DCFTOF, notes that this is a particularly difficult time for clients.

“Maybe they rely on their significant others for financial support,” Honeycutt said. “Maybe the abuser took financial power over their spouse. We want to help them alleviate the financial burden of having to purchase groceries for Thanksgiving, and make sure the families are fed.”

The organization also encourages donors to bring items that can last past Thanksgiving.

“Our clients are normally already financially impacted, but they’re even more severely impacted now because of the pandemic,” Honeycutt said. “We’re relying on our amazing community to donate these items, and our biggest needs are the nonperishable food items and the gift cards.“

Friends of the Family asks volunteers to donate reusable grocery bags and assemble meal kits for the drive with nonperishable items. These items include boxed mashed potatoes, gravy packets, stuffing, cornbread mix, canned veggies, pie filling, pie crusts, rice, beans, mac and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly. Additionally, the organization asks volunteers and donors to donate $20 gift cards for local grocery stores to supply families with a turkey or a ham for Thanksgiving, as the organization does not have storage capacity for them.

The deadline to drop off items for the drive is Friday, Nov. 12, at 5 p.m. The address to deliver the items and finished kits is 4845 S. Interstate-35 E. in Corinth. Additional information and contact info can be found at the organization’s website at dcfof.org/thanksgiving.

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