A Thanksgiving Meal for Jaylen and His Family

Photo of Jaylen with the turkey that was the centerpiece of his family's Thanksgiving meal.

With a fridge at home that is sometimes empty, eight-year-old Jaylen was wondering what the Thanksgiving meal would be like this year. Thanks to people like you, he didn’t have to miss out on his favorite holiday foods, and was able to share a warm, nourishing meal with his family.

Jaylen is eight years old and he wants to work for a basketball team when he grows up. But he doesn’t want to be a player—he wants to be the person in charge. “I want to be the coach,” he says.

But lately, Jaylen hasn’t been worried about being a basketball coach. He’s just been hoping for a meal on Thanksgiving. “Sometimes we don’t have food in the fridge after school,” he says. “It’s hard.”

Jaylen lives with his mother and grandmother. His mom works full-time, and the family still struggles to make ends meet. On a tight budget, it’s especially hard for Jaylen’s grandmother, Michelle, to put a full meal on the table during the holidays. “We can’t afford a turkey or anything that goes with it,” she says.

But this Thanksgiving was different.

Jaylen’s family visited a food distribution and were able to bring home a turkey, stuffing, vegetables, and other holiday favorites.

“Thanksgiving to me is all about spending time with family and friends,” Michelle says. “It’s about appreciating what you have. I’m so grateful for this food.”

And while Jaylen hopes to be a basketball coach one day, for today he’s happy about the holiday turkey. “Not having a turkey would have been sad…It helps our family celebrate what we have.”

Stories like this are true for families in Vermont and across the country. You can help make sure that a family experiencing hunger will be able to gather around a full and festive table this holiday season. Visit vtfoodbank.org/give to donate.

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