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Volunteers Hand Out 5,000 Thanksgiving Dinners

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The youngest volunteer of the day, Mason Lemack-Bremen of Belmont, helps distribute turkeys at United Way’s Thanksgiving Project at Catholic Charities Greater Boston at Yawkey Center in Dorchester Saturday, November 19, 2011. (PHOTO PEI_Kristie Gillooly)

The youngest volunteer of the day, Mason Lemack-Bremen of Belmont, helps distribute turkeys at United Way’s Thanksgiving Project at Catholic Charities Greater Boston at Yawkey Center in Dorchester Saturday, November 19, 2011. (PHOTO PEI_Kristie Gillooly)

BOSTON (CBS) – With so many families needing a little help this holiday season, thousands of locals will have something to smile about thanks to an effort by the United Way.

Volunteers kicked off the 14th annual Thanksgiving Project on Saturday by handing out the ingredients for 5,000 full Thanksgiving meals.

Hundreds of local volunteers generously donated their time over the past week pre-packing the 5,000 Thanksgiving baskets.

Read: Guide To Holiday Volunteering Around Boston

Volunteers handed out 1500 turkey dinners at the largest distribution site, Catholic Charities Greater Boston at Yawkey Center in Dorchester.

Residents began lining up there as early as 5:00 a.m.

Fortunately for them, Dunkin’ Donuts was on hand giving out free samples of hot coffee, Hot Chocolate and donuts.

A number of local businesses stepped forward to donate the tractor trailer-loads of food.

BMS Paper, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Goya Foods, JP Morgan, Legal Sea Foods, Putnam Investments, Stop & Shop and UPS all contributed.

The event also brought together several regional nonprofits including Catholic Charities, Interfaith Social Services, Serving People In Need (SPIN), Lawrence Community Works and Weymouth Food Pantry.

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