- File: Oliver Parini
- Fletcher Free Library
Burlington's Fletcher Free Library plans to open on Thanksgiving Day and hand out free, prepackaged roast turkey dinners made by local restaurant conglomerate the Farmhouse Group. Patrons can bring the food home or eat it in the library, though they won't be able to heat it up. The library will also provide coffee, hot chocolate and dessert.
"Sometimes people just need a place to be on a holiday," Fletcher Free director Mary Danko said. "We're a big library downtown. It just makes sense."
The library will be open on Thursday, November 23, from noon to 4 p.m. for meal distribution, as well as book checkout and computer use, according to Danko. People can also pick up food on Wednesday. Farmhouse will distribute hundreds more meals to other Burlington locations.
Danko said the library has opened its doors on Thanksgiving several times in recent years and it's been interesting to see the variety of people who come in: elderly folks who don't have a place to go, those in recovery who don't want to be around alcohol, families with young kids who just need to get out of the house for an hour.
Though Fletcher Free appears to be the only Vermont library open on Thanksgiving, there are efforts in other parts of the state to get holiday meals to those in need. The Vermont Foodbank has purchased 3,800 turkeys this year, along with side dishes such as potatoes, box stuffing and cranberry sauce, to distribute to its more than 200 local partners, including food shelves, senior centers and social services organizations.
More information on local spots offering free Thanksgiving meals and food baskets can be found at vermont211.org by clicking on the "Seasonal Resources" tab.