On Monday evening, volunteers from Atholton High School, the Arc of Howard County and other organizations gathered at the Wegmans grocery store in Columbia to assemble 800 Thanksgiving dinners, complete with yams, beans, corn, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, gravy, potatoes and, of course, a turkey.
The Thanksgiving dinners were to be distributed to needy Howard County families on Tuesday, part of a partnership between Wegmans and the Community Action Council of Howard County.
Since opening in June, CAC president Bita Dayhoff said, Wegmans has assisted the council's effort to End Hunger in Howard County through special events and its "Care about Hunger" campaign, which offers shoppers an opportunity to donate to the cause as they check out.
"When Wegmans came to Columbia, they came with open arms and open hearts, and invested in the Howard County community," Dayhoff said. "It's a true blessing to have a member of our business community stepping forward like this."
Wegmans' Nate Starkweather said the company traditionally gives back to the communities it serves.
"Part of our values is making a difference in the community, and what better way to give back than with food," Starkweather said.
County Council member Mary Kay Sigaty praised both Wegmans' and the nearly 50 volunteers who spent the evening assembling the boxes.
"It's fabulous to know we live in a community where people think of those who are less fortunate," Sigaty said.
The 800 boxes of food, along with other donations, will be distributed to families in need on Tuesday at the St. John Baptist Church, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.