Utica, NY (WIBX) - About six tons of food is going to needy families this Thanksgiving, during St. Elizabeth Medical Center's 37th annual "Operation Share" campaign.

According to James Getter, the Director of Hospital Services, 325 families- totaling nearly 1,400 people- are receiving a box of food containing stuffing, fruit, vegetables and a turkey.

"It's just something that I think is a nice yearly event that is true to the mission of St. Elizabeth's Medical Center and the Sisters of St. Francis," Getter said.

Getter also said the community's need has grown exponentially during the program's 37 years.

"The economy has a little bit to do with it," Getter said. "I just think families are a lot needier now than they were before, and it's just a good thing to be able to help a lot of people that are in need."

Recipients were recommended by local charitable groups, the Sisters of Saint Francis and by Saint Elizabeth employees.

Donations came from several places, including Mohawk Valley Imaging, Chanatry's Supermarket and Rock Tenn. Other donations were provided by volunteers and staff members.