WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Minutes before the clock hit 11 a.m. Saturday morning, cars were already lining up outside the Connecticut Food Bank for the Gr8 Thanksgiving Food Drive.

“People are already here dropping off turkeys, dropping off non-perishable, dropping off cash,” said Jason Jacobowski, president and CEO of CT Foodshare.

Hunger is all too real for more than 490,000 Connecticut residents. These are people from all walks of life who have fallen on hard times.

Decked out in red, the News 8 team took part in the annual event that brings meals to families who need it the most. Everyone was unpacking the cars and grabbing the goods.

The pantry set a goal of bringing in thousands of turkeys and put a dent in it thanks to News 8’s dedicated viewers.

At the end of the food drive, a total of 632 turkeys and 4,851 pounds in non-perishable items were donated. A total of $1,535 has been raised so far, making 3,070 meals for CT families.

“They blew away my expectations. I had to go and borrow my mom’s car because we had soo much to put in there,” said Andrea Zullo, a science teacher at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School.

Summer Express, a family-owned business out of Branford, donated 100 turkeys at the food drive.

But there are still a lot of families struggling due to food insecurity in Connecticut. Around 480,000 people are short on food, clothing, and other items.

That’s why this kind of help is so important and stretches far beyond the holiday season.

To make a monetary donation, head to p2p.onecause.com.

All donations help families right here in Connecticut!

Together let’s put Community First!