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(NECN: Kristen Carosa)

It’s a season of thankfulness and giving and that’s exactly what a major, annual food drive was doing Monday in Worcester, Mass. Over 50,000 pounds of donated food went to families in need.

“I have a family of six and my husband is the only one who works,” said Niki Ross.

She is one of the many families in Worcester who needs a little help this Thanksgiving. Ross picked up a free meal for her family Monday at the Friendly House in Grafton Hill.

“It’s so important for many families because with the cost of food this could pay an electric bill or something else instead of buying the meal,” said director Gordon Hargrove.

Hundreds of families stopped in to get a turkey, stuffing, canned goods and vegetables.

The Worcester County Sheriff’s office, the Worcester Sharks and Worcester Polytechnic Institute partnered up to collect the more than 50,000 pounds of food. This is the drive’s eighth year.

“We are trying to make this a better place and this one of the best days you ever have,” said Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.

More than 2,000 families will walk away this week with what they need for Thanksgiving and for the first time families were also offered free brand new coats and jackets for their children.

“I didn’t know that they were giving out jackets so this is an added bonus,” said Michelle Cormier.

She got a coat for each of her children, and it’s something she says she couldn’t afford on her own.

Two hundred and fifty coats were donated by Worcester’s Harr Toyota.

“We liked the idea of giving out brand new coats so the children can smile and the parents can be happy,” said Michael Gross.

The food distribution will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday. Any leftover food will be given out to organizations in the city.

“There are so many families without a meal for Thanksgiving,” said Josefina Yelez, “it makes us feel so great to be able to help some of them.”