By Beth Germano

NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) – It’s Thanksgiving rush, the day before the holiday at the Stop and Shop in North Andover, but for shoppers it all feels a little different this year. “We usually get the whole family together but not doing it this year,” said shopper Linda Sacco.

As a result carts usually filled to the brim with turkey and the trimmings are a little leaner. “We’ll be small maybe six of us otherwise it probably would have been 20,” said shopper Debbie Snow.

As people are struggling to reinvent their Thanksgiving there’s another struggle as well…the need that’s growing this time of year. At Lazarus House food pantry in Lawrence, they served 1700 families this Thanksgiving more than double last year. Instead of distributing turkeys, they gave out gift cards in a sign of the times.

“Before we would have everyone come inside pick and choose items and make their way around the store. In a pandemic you can’t do that,” said volunteer Miguel Antonietti.

They also handed out bagged food items from behind plastic shields trying to keep it as personal as possible. “When you give out a turkey it’s on a more personal level, you’re giving a person something,” said Liset Garcia of Lazarus House.

Thanksgiving may also look a little different this year, but everyone is trying to fill the need.

Beth Germano