More than a Meal 

November 6, 2023

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, it’s not just the aroma of a sumptuous feast that fills the air; it’s also the spirit of giving and gratitude that envelops our communities. In the heart of the Pocono Mountains, this spirit finds a remarkable expression through the annual list of free community meals, organized by Pocono Mountains United Way and the Monroe County Area Agency on Aging.  

First and foremost, we cannot thank these community hosts enough for your generosity. 

Thanksgiving, traditionally a time for families and friends to gather and celebrate, often centers around a bountiful meal. But, for many in our community, it’s a stark reminder of their economic challenges. United Way, with its unwavering commitment to improving the lives of those in need, recognizes that Thanksgiving is More than a Meal. 

In a world that can sometimes feel increasingly divided, United Way’s efforts to unite communities through acts of kindness and generosity stand as a shining example. The list of free community meals is not merely a catalog of food offerings; it is a testament to the power of community service and compassion. 

These free community meals provide a lifeline for those who might otherwise go without a warm, nourishing meal on Thanksgiving. But the impact goes beyond satisfying physical hunger. It fosters a sense of belonging, showing people that they are part of a caring community. It reinforces the idea that we are all in this together, and that no one should feel alone or left behind, especially during the holiday season. 

Pocono Mountains United Way’s involvement in organizing the list of community meals is a reminder that building a stronger, more resilient community takes all of us. It’s about much more than just distributing food; it’s about spreading hope, love, and a sense of togetherness. It’s about recognizing that every person in our community deserves a chance to enjoy the warmth and comfort of Thanksgiving, regardless of their circumstances. 

Moreover, these community meals also offer an opportunity for individuals to engage in community service. Volunteers, both young and old, come together to help prepare, serve, and share in the spirit of Thanksgiving. These acts of service are a reminder that we can make a difference, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. 

Thanksgiving, and these free community meals, remind us that we are part of something larger than ourselves. It connects us with our neighbors, our community, and the values that define our society. It’s a time to reflect on what we are grateful for and how we can extend a helping hand to those who need it most. 

So, as we sit down to our Thanksgiving feasts, let’s remember that it’s More than a Meal. It’s about love, unity, and the knowledge that, as a community, we can make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. I am thankful for the efforts of organizations like Pocono Mountains United Way and the Area Agency on Aging, and those providing these meals. Because of you, Thanksgiving takes on a deeper meaning, one that reminds us of the power of giving and the strength of our community. 


Michael B. Tukeva 

Pocono Mountains United Way 


View a listing of the 2023 Community Meals.