PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Thanksgiving Angels held their annual food distribution day Monday in Pittsfield. This year, the community effort provided more than 1,700 Berkshire homes with Thanksgiving meals.

What You Need To Know

  • Thanksgiving Angels provided meals to more than 1,700 families for their 12th annual event ahead of the holiday. They said more unregistered families will pick up food on Tuesday

  • The effort is a collaboration of more than 20 food pantries, organizations and faith communities

  • Berkshire United Way assisted with volunteer management for the first time. In total, 598 people will have volunteered 1,982.5 hours between Nov. 8 and Nov. 21 for Thanksgiving Angels, according to BUW

  • The annual event is held at Pittsfield's South Community Food Bank

“I work out of HospiceCare in The Berkshires," said Jessica Rilla, who picked up food for seven local families. "This is our second time doing it this year. It's just phenomenal for all of our families to have a Thanksgiving meal when they really don't have the opportunity to do so.”

Now in their 12th year, the Thanksgiving Angels are getting assistance from the Berkshire United Way in coordinating hundreds of volunteers.

“Our community runs on volunteers and today is absolutely no exception," said Brenda Petell, director of volunteer engagement for B.U.W. "We have been able to fill volunteer spots with over 300 people. Today alone, we'll have 196 volunteers here on site. And the volunteers will give 558 hours of volunteer hours just today.”

Also new this year, Gretchen Debartollo and Hope Amandos became the lead coordinators for Thanksgiving Angels, assuming the reigns from South Community Food Pantry’s director Mary Wheat.

“It takes two people to replace Mary,” DeBartollo said. “You know, at 90 years old, she’s very difficult to replace.”

“She's great," Amandos said. "Thank God she's still here to help us.”

The Thanksgiving Angels Committee is all about community partnership.

“There's an amazing, amazing group 23 different Faith-Based and Civic Organizations that organize this every year,” Petell said.

“And even our sponsors," Amandos said. "We have great people who send us money, but, you know, we can't do without [them]."