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Swirnow's 8th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway!

A Thanksgiving meal giveaway led by a Baltimore-based father, son and grandson team has fed tens of thousands of city residents in the last seven years. On Saturday, November 20, 2004, from 12 noon to 2pm, they hope to reach over 20,000 more.

The "Our Family to Your Family" Program was launched in 1997 by Richard A. Swirnow, Developer of the Inner Harbor properties at HarborView and his son David E. Swirnow, President of Swirnow Building Systems. When David's son Michael became old enough to help out, the program became a multi-generational effort.

"Our Family to Your Family is unique in that our purpose is to provide a family package, to be cooked at home to focus on allowing families to be together in their own homes at this traditional time, said Richard Swirnow. "We want to focus on families and family traditions."

"Adopt-a-Turkey" gifts are distributed to more than 60 Baltimore City non-profit organizations in a corporate-community effort to provide food relief to those in need. Thanks to Swirnow company employees and their volunteers, approximately 33 tons of turkey dinners in 2,000 meal baskets will reach needy families this year.

The St. Michael Outreach Center of Baltimore, one of the participants in last year's program, was able to put 215 meals in the homes of families in need for Thanksgiving. "What happened could never have been done without the support of Swirnow Building Systems," said Resource Coordinator Dennis Klemash.

The Human Services Division of the City of Baltimore was able to provide enough holiday food for 2,800 families. Executive Director Lindbergh Carpenter, Jr. felt that the Adopt- A-Turkey gifts helped to "change lives".

Sherie Sample, Director of Family Support for Sandtown Habitat for Humanity, told David Swirnow, "I am certain that our families' Thanksgiving Dinner was richly blessed because of your thoughtfulness."

Recipients of the baskets this year will continue to include disabled, unemployed, and elderly residents, as well as lower-income families with young children. Cherry Hill 2000, for example, was able to help families that are working poor and didn't qualify for any other type of assistance last year. Says Executive Director Cathy Brown, "We appreciate the opportunity to help them again this year."

Included in each basket are a 14-15-pound turkey, 5 pounds of potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, gravy mix, dinner rolls and a pumpkin pie - all conveniently packaged.

For the first three years, the financial needs of "Our Family to Your Family Adopt a Turkey Program" were handled by the Swirnows. In recent years, their customers, vendors and friends found it a terrific opportunity to give back to their communities and quickly joined the cause.

Food distribution will take place at the Swirnow Building Systems warehouse, 2801 Sisson Street on Saturday, November 20. That morning, 4,000 volunteers will gather in McLean, Virginia to help Tom Wertz of UBS PaineWebber, founder of the Adopt-a-Turkey Program, assemble the food baskets. Brody Trucking of Baltimore and the Salvation Army will provide the trucks, and the Swirnow Company employees who volunteer their time will transport the packages to Baltimore.

"Our Adopt-A-Turkey program has fed more than 100,000 city residents in the past seven years," said David Swirnow. "In 2004, with the help of our employees, sponsors, volunteers and the various non-profit organizations, we continue to expand our efforts to provide food relief for those in need."

Page 2B: Sunday, Nov. 21, 2004: The Sun: Unloading, uplifting. Stephen Swirnow (left) of Kensington helps unload Thanksgiving dinners at the Baltimore warehouse of Swirnow Building Systems. About 20,000 meals will be distributed to local families through the construction company's Our Family to Your Family program. Photo by Steve Ruark: Special to the Sun.


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