Knights of Columbus in Chicopee cancels Thanksgiving dinner

The Knights of Columbus in Chicopee has canceled their big community Thanksgiving dinner for the third year in a row.
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 1:54 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2022 at 4:53 PM EST
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CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The Knights of Columbus in Chicopee has canceled their big community Thanksgiving dinner for the third year in a row. The past two years, the cancelation was due to COVID-19, but this year, it’s for a different reason.

“Without guaranteeing we could have the food, we just didn’t think it could be possible this year,” said Steve Dubreuil.

Due to the bird flu causing a turkey shortage, over 4,000 families will not be getting meals from the Knights of Columbus. Western Mass News met Dubreuil, who told us plans changed when the chef for the event started placing orders and faced a huge disappointment.

“He went through many of his vendors and they could guarantee that they could get half of that early on, but they could not guarantee the rest,” Dubreuil added.

In a typical year, they’d have 1,500 pounds of whole turkeys and 900 pounds of turkey breast for an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 deliveries and 1,000 people in the castle, but since they won’t be able to provide meals, they are donating their funds, hoping other oragnizations have the means to distribute to people.

“We decided that we were going to take portions of the money that were going to be used for our dinner and we are going to make donations to the soup kitchens,” Dubreuil noted.

Those organizations include

  • Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen
  • Providence Ministries
  • Kate’s Kitchen
  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors Inc.
  • South Hadley Food Pantry
  • Springfield Rescue League
  • Boys and Girls Club

Western Mass News met with Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen Executive Director Kim Caisse to get answers on their meal plans this Thanksgiving.

“We are getting phone calls all the time asking if we are going to have Thanksgiving dinner, you know, if we are going to have turkeys to hand out,” Caisse said.

Caisse told us the Knights of Columbus donation will be helpful since they typically feed around 600 people a month, but this Thanksgiving, they too are struggling to find enough turkeys, so they decided to make an ‘everything but’ take-home bag. However, even those are limited.

“We have been putting bags together for Thanksgiving to give out in our pantry of the necessities…box potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, a dessert,” Caisse explained.

If you would like to sign up for a take-home bag, Caisse said you can walk in and put your name on the list.

For those interested in donating, the Knights of Columbus is asking for you to bring donations directly to a local food pantry.