Over the past few years, Sizer School, located at 500 Rindge Rd. in Fitchburg, has used their year-long Food Pantry to support families in need by providing these families with Thanksgiving "baskets".

Each year, Sizer staff pack these baskets with traditional Thanksgiving foods like potatoes, gravy, veggies and a dessert as well as a gift card so that the family can purchase a turkey or other dinner items on their own.

“Last year we provided meals for 15 families, and this year we hope to be able to support at least that many.” said Jenna Lavery, the Sizer School Adjustment Counselor and Food Pantry representative.

Because of Covid-19, this year food insecurity is on the rise. The most recent statistics related to food insecurity in Massachusetts shows an over 50% need increase. In May, a report released by Feeding America projected 1 in 8 people in Eastern Mass alone would experience food insecurity in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus. That number represents a 59% increase in households experiencing food insecurity since before COVID-19.

“Donations are always welcome and specific Thanksgiving donations would be most appreciated by November 13th,” said Lavery.

The food pantry is looking for the following items: instant mashed potatoes, pie crust/filling, cake mix, corn bread/roll mix, canned corn, canned green beans, gravy mix/canned gravy, stuffing and chicken broth/bouillon. Gift cards to local grocery stores are also welcomed so that fresh items can be purchased by the Food Pantry team and by families directly.

Donations can be dropped off at Sizer School, 500 Rindge Rd. in Fitchburg between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Due to Covid restrictions, please contact Ms. Lavery directly so she can arrange for a drop off or pick up time. Any family interested in receiving a Thanksgiving basket should also contact Ms. Lavery to make confidential arrangements. Ms. Lavery can be reached at laveryquigleyj@sizerschool.org or using Google Voice for text or call: (978)728-3754.

Sizer School, a North Central Charter Essential School, is a free public charter school located in Fitchburg serving students in grades seven through twelve from 25 local towns and cities. At Sizer School students are known personally, challenged intellectually, and participate actively in their learning. Guided by its commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, the school seeks to send graduates into the world who THINK for themselves, CARE about others, and ACT creatively and responsibly. To find out more, visit www.sizerschool.org.

Applications are still being accepted, until October 21st, for students in 7th, 8th and 9th grade for the 2020-2021 school year. Apply now at sizer.schoolmint.net.