Put a stamp on it; it's done!

Another "Free the Z" is in the books, and there will be a lot of local families that will get to nosh on a great Thanksgiving dinner, all because of the generosity of folks like you!

Awesome Turkey Artwork From Some Local Students

For 19 years, we here at Z107.3 have tried to use our "talents and power" for good, partnering with local food banks and service providers in the area to make sure our friends and neighbors have enough to eat during the holiday season. For 19 years, we've sent our staff out, in every kind of weather scenario imaginable; rain, sleet, hurricane force winds that blew our tent apart, freezing temps...the list goes on! And for 19 years YOU have answered our call to help "Free The Z" by bringing us thousands of frozen turkeys!

Our home away from home!

We're not sure of the exact count (we'll have to do some digging on that one) but we bet we've collected close to 40-thousand turkeys over the last 2 decades. That's a lot of families across Eastern Maine that have had the opportunity to gather around a meal with their loved ones, and make a Thanksgiving memory, that might not have happened without your help.

There's just something beautiful about a frozen turkey, when you know it will end up on the table, helping a family in need create a great holiday memory!

Through the years, we have worked with some amazing organizations, and seen some super-generous donations come in, thanks to everyday citizens, and local businesses who stepped up to the plate...to fill a plate!

Local businesses like Sun Tan City made some amazingly generous donations to help us reach our goal! 328 families will get to have a Thanksgiving dinner thanks to this one donation!

This year was no exception!

It started on Day 1, with some outstanding donations from Katahdin Trust and the Better Homes and Gardens Group kicking things off and getting us close to 500 by the end of our first day! The goal of course this year was to collect 2019 turkeys. Penquis CAP, whom we've partnered with for several years now, would then distribute those turkeys to food banks across Eastern Maine. They said they had 5,000 families sign up for assistance this year, so we really wanted to help them get at least half of that.

Donations piling up!

With our awesome sponsors helping to collect the donations as they came in, and the hard-working volunteers from Penquis CAP filling the refrigerated truck with the birds, we finished Day 2 with triple what we had on Day 1, a whopping 1535 turkeys!

Kid, hard at work!

By the beginning of Day 3, Kid, who had been a trooper for the first 48 hours, was definitely looking forward to hitting that goal, and by 10AM, we were getting close, with about 1836 birds!

 

We hit a bit of a lull before lunch, so we put out the call, and rallied the troops...and you guys answered!

We love when everyone gets involved in donating. These guys came over from Bangor Savings Bank with 60 birds!

From big donations from local businesses and organizations...

A lot of our favorite moments came when parents brought their kids by to donate. Like Max, John and Gwenyth. They each donated a turkey this year. Bringing them up right!
Thank you, Sension family, for your donation!

to smaller, but just as important donations from folks across Eastern Maine, we hit our goal of 2019 by noontime on Day 3....

Cori, Kid and Sarah on the last day of Free The Z 2019

Between cash donations, actual turkey donations, donations through the Penquis CAP website (you can still donate if you want, it's not too late!) and folks texting in their donations, our overall Free The Z 2019 total was 2,494 turkeys!

The grand total!

And it's all because of YOU! Thank you to all the people who took the time to come out, say hello and reach into their pockets to help folks in need. Thank you to the businesses and organizations who passed the hat and took collections to donate to our cause this year. And thanks to all those who volunteered their time and effort (all of our sponsors, the folks from Penquis and everyone at Townsquare Media) who help support this event every year.

When we started this almost 20 years ago, we had no idea it would still be going strong today. One day, we hope the need for food assistance will start to decrease, instead of increase...wouldn't that be awesome. But until such a time, we're grateful to be a part of such a caring and generous community, and happy and humbled to help our fellow Mainers enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday with a full belly, and a warm heart.