Holiday food boxes are in high demand in Haywood County, and many local organizations are working hard to supply enough food for the families in need over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Several local organizations have run out of traditional Thanksgiving dinner food items, but fortunately there is still plenty of food to go around.

First United Methodist Church of Waynesville held a MANNA Food Box Giveaway & Resource Fair last weekend, and ran out of food within the first hour, leaving some families who waited for hours without any food.

Likewise, Steve Nowakowski, executive director of Haywood Christian Ministry, said the ministry’s Thanksgiving food boxes had already been given out.

“It’s unbelievable — we just cannot believe what we are seeing,” said Nowakowski. “There are 47,000 people helped so far this year. We usually only see 10,000-12,000 (people) a year. We started handing out some of our holiday boxes beginning of last week and they went quick. We thought we would have had enough to get us through. The demand is still here.”

Nowakowski said that Haywood Christian Ministry didn’t get the number of turkeys they had hoped for, but they do have hams and chickens available for distribution.

HCM’s food program allows eligible families to come collect free food once a week, and while they may be out of turkeys, there is still a lot of food to give to families.

“The food boxes going out next week are really good,” Nowakowski said. “HCM is still giving out food daily, and lately there has been quite of bit of food in there.”

For more information, visit https://www.haywoodministry.org/.

Free food in Canton

Food boxes are still being given out at the Canton Community Kitchen every week — and Chris Jennings, co-director, said the boxes that will be distributed next Tuesday will be very full, since it’s the week of Thanksgiving.

“They’re going to be really big with lots of good stuff,” he said.

Those needing a food box can visit the kitchen at 394 Champion Drive in Canton between 10 a.m. and noon and fill out a form to receive a box.

“It’s a really simple process,” Jennings said.

Free Thanksgiving meal at Walmart

Thanks to a mobile shopping app called Ibotta, many households throughout he country will be fed for Thanksgiving.

Through an exclusive promotion with Walmart, Ibotta, the leading mobile rewards platform in the United States, the app is offering a ’Free Thanksgiving Dinner’ program in an effort to feed millions of families this Thanksgiving.

Alongside well-known brands Campbell’s, Butterball and Coca-Cola, Ibotta will provide households across the country with a free Thanksgiving meal to feed a family of five this holiday season.

Through Ibotta’s ‘Free Thanksgiving Dinner’ program, Ibotta users in the U.S. can receive 100% cash back on up to nine Thanksgiving food staples while supplies last. The items include turkey, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, crispy onions, potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy and a 2-liter of soda. To redeem the free Thanksgiving dinner, Savers simply download the free Ibotta app or newly launched Ibotta browser extension and follow the instructions to add all nine free Thanksgiving dinner items to their Walmart shopping list.

From there, they can go to any Walmart location nationwide to shop for the products in-store or shop online for free curbside pick up through Walmart’s Pickup and Delivery service.

“Walmart is proud to team up with Ibotta this Thanksgiving to put meals on the tables of thousands of families across the U.S. at a time when they may need it most,” said Sarah Henry, Senior Director, Content & Influencer Marketing.

As the coronavirus pandemic presses on, more than 54 million people may not have enough to eat this year. That’s why, as part of this campaign, Ibotta is donating to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, which will help to provide food for families in need across its network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries in the United States and Puerto Rico.

“While this year has been trying for so many Americans, Ibotta’s ‘Free Thanksgiving Dinner’ program is our way of making them feel extra supported this holiday season,” said Bryan Leach, CEO and Founder of Ibotta.

“We know how meaningful the holidays are for our consumers, as they carry out long standing traditions and create new memories,” said Diana Haussling, Campbell Soup Company, VP, eCommerce & Omni Shopper Marketing. “Giving back to those in need matters to us at Campbell, and we are proud to partner with Ibotta and Walmart to ease the burden for families this holiday season.”

“In keeping with our ‘Refresh the World and Make a Difference’ mission at Coca-Cola, we’re proud to support Ibotta in giving back to families in need this Thanksgiving,” said Whitney Arthur, Shopper Marketing Director at Coca-Cola. “After months of uncertainty and financial strain, this giveaway will help ensure that Americans across the country have a good meal to sit down to on Thanksgiving Day, and we’re humbled to be included around the table.”

To learn more about how it could help give back to shoppers this holiday season, Ibotta conducted its 2020 Thanksgiving Survey and found that more than one-third of Americans will spend less on Thanksgiving this year due to tightened budgets.

According to the survey, more than one-third of Americans prefer dark turkey meat over light meat, and more than two-thirds (67 percent) want their mashed potatoes smooth and creamy.

When it comes to one of the most polarizing items on the dinner table — cranberry sauce — Americans are fairly split, with 44 percent taking the easy route and grabbing a canned variety while 56 percent prefer to make their own. However, the majority of Americans (82 percent) think homemade gravy is the only way to go.

“After already delivering more than $125 million in cash back this year alone, we know folks need the extra help,” Leach said. “Our hope is that no matter where consumers shop this holiday — whether in-store, online, for grocery delivery or holiday presents — that we can put a little extra cash back in their pockets, and eliminate some of the financial anxiety we know they’re feeling more than ever this time of year.”

To learn more about Ibotta’s ‘Free Thanksgiving Dinner’ campaign, visit https://home.ibotta.com/thanksgiving/.

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