COOLIDGE — Last year the Hope International Food Pantry handed out 155 Thanksgiving boxes to the community, and this year it doubled the amount.

Hope Ministry Pastor Anthony Warren said two other churches joined his church and pantry this year in providing the materials needed for a Thanksgiving meal.

The other Coolidge churches that assisted Hope International Food Pantry in its third annual turkey getaway were New Hope Community Church and Oasis Church.

Warren said the goal was to give away twice the number of boxes they were able to do last year with the assistance of New Hope Community Church.

He said last year due to COVID-19 it was more difficult for the pantry, especially around the holidays.

As usual, the turkey dinner boxes were provided in a drive-thru setting, and he thinks they will run out of food, so he is encouraging residents to come early.

The pantry opened at 9 a.m. Saturday and was to stay open until there is no more food left.

“More than 300 people will come,” he said last week. “I think we will run out.”

There is no income requirement, though identification is required.

“Anyone can come,” he said. “You still need to bring your ID.”

He said Saturday’s giveaway would not have been successful if not for Walmart, Shope’s IGA, Jim Garrett, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the community at large, all who donated in some fashion.

Shope’s IGA and Walmart, he said, gave them discounts on the turkeys they purchased for the giveaway.

“It’s a great opportunity to give to the community,” he said, pointing out the pantry is the only food bank in the city.

He said in these times when food prices are rising, some people would not have been able to afford to have the typical Thanksgiving meal.

“We are saving people money by doing this,” he said, “A lot of new people are coming into the (pantry).”

So far this year the pantry has handed out close to 7,000 food boxes, and Warren said for 2022 he would like to increase that amount to more than 10,000,

“This has been a great year for us,” he said.

As always Warren said the pantry is requesting donations so it can continue to provide food to the community.

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Michael Maresh is a reporter for PinalCentral covering Coolidge news, education and sports.

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