A record number of Gahanna families are likely giving thanks to the nonprofit Gahanna Residents In Need this Thanksgiving.

Brenda Johnston, executive director of the organization, said more families applied for Thanksgiving assistance than ever before.

She said 307 families, totaling 1,021 individuals, registered for food boxes.

Program director Beth Bentley said each family receives enough food for at least two meals, amounting to 2,042 total meals.

She said food boxes include green beans, corn, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy and canned cranberry sauce, as well as fresh potatoes, apples, rolls and sweet potatoes.

"They will also receive a gift card," Bentley said. "All quantities are based on the family size. There's a different increment for each family."

She said gift cards are designed to purchase a family's meat of choice and any dairy product they might need.

"If they wanted whipped cream, butter or milk, it's designed for that," Bentley said. "We're also giving evaporated milk, so they can make a pie. We're frantically collecting items. We have 2,000 more cans items coming this afternoon (Nov. 13) and more things coming."

She said GRIN picks up fresh food from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, 3960 Brookham Drive, Grove City, the week before the distribution at the Gahanna Senior Center, 480 Rocky Fork Blvd.

"Our preregistered families will show up on Nov. 23 to get their boxes," Bentley said.

Johnston said the number of families requesting a meal for Christmas has jumped to 317 and registration remains open until Dec. 1.

Families will receive a turkey or ham for Christmas in addition to a vegetable, cheesy potato box, canned fruit, marshmallows, cornbread mix, macaroni and cheese, and cookie mix.

Those boxes will be distributed Dec. 15 to those who registered at First Baptist Church, 520 Havens Corners Road.

Anyone wanting help for Christmas can visit the pantry at 165 Granville St. to pick up an application, or they can find one at grin4gahanna.org.

Applications are available during pantry hours, and photo identification and proof of residency in the Gahanna-Jefferson School District are required.

Food pantry hours are 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays, 6 to 8 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month and 9 to 11 a.m. on the first and third Saturdays at 165 Granville St. An appointment is required.

Applications also are available at Gahanna-Jefferson elementary and middle schools.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla