INDIANAPOLIS — Each holiday season there is always a request to help bring a happy holiday to those in need. This year that call for help is louder than ever.
"The unemployment rate is at the roof. A lot of people are unemployed wondering how they're going to pay their bills, facing evictions and let alone worrying about trying to provide food for their family," said Dee Ross, who heads the Ross Foundation.
2020 will be the 6th year community leader Ross has organized his "No Family Will Starve" giveaway for Thanksgiving. This year he's leading the charge to feed more than 1,000 people, by giving 150 families a turkey and enough food to feed six to eight people for two months.
"Last year we only did 60 families, and the year before that it was 50 families and so we're growing every single year, the need is growing every single year," said Ross.
The pandemic has closed the usual places where the group can store food, so this year Ross is forced to use his own home and borrowed space from volunteers to keep the food cold. Three days before the giveaway and the basement of Ross' home is packed with frozen turkeys.
"In the past we would partner up with maybe a community center or a church to store everything but with COVID it hard. The doors is locked, you know we don't have the opportunities to have a walk-in freezer. We would love that!" Ross said.
Ross has connected with apartment complexes on the east side to find the people who truly need the most help, meaning those who are behind on their rent or have multiple children. But the work doesn't stop with just handing out food, he'll be keeping tabs on the recipients in hopes of ensuring their situation gets better.
"We figure out what the need is so we can get to the root causes so they can become financially stable.
So they won't have to depend on these resources every single year," Ross said.
So far 50 volunteers have already signed up to help Ross deliver the food this Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. at Capital City Church of Christ, 8925 East 42nd Street.
They'll be going door to door dropping off the goods while wearing their PPE.
His own foundation "The Ross Foundation."