Thousands receive bags filled with food for Thanksgiving dinner

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The line outside of St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy wraps around the church, down the street. It’s filled with thousands of people who are coming to pick up bags filled with food for Thanksgiving dinner.

“The community is just people helping people,” said Nancy Polino, the coordinator for the distribution. “It’s so gratifying and humbling to be a part of this.”

She’s been involved for about 16 years and has seen the need increase significantly. When St. Luke’s started handing out bags for the holidays 23 years ago, only 500 people came.  Today, more than 2700 families will be there receiving food.

“It could be me or us tomorrow in that line,” said Polino.

Today – it’s Regina Crosby. The East Sider has been lining up at St. Luke’s on this for the last four years.

“They help us a lot,” said Crosby. “It’s really a blessing for people who don’t have anything.”

Crosby is grateful the church gives out three bags with cold and dry food and produce for the holiday. It costs $100,000 for the church to supply all the food for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Crosby says, without it, her Thanksgiving wouldn’t be as filling as it is now.

“This makes my holiday so much better.”

“No one deserves to be alone or without food on Thanksgiving,” said Polino.

St. Luke’s is looking for volunteers to help fill bags on December 16th for the Christmas giveaway. Learn more about how to help here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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