Turkey donation kick-starts annual Thanksgiving food drive | Juneau Empire


When the white van pulled up in front of the Glory Hole soup kitcken and homeless shelter on Monday afternoon, a handful of people inside the shelter sprang to action.

The back door of the van opened, revealing boxes of frozen turkeys. In a way, Thanksgiving had arrived. The 20 turkeys, donated to the Glory Hole by Allen Marine Tours, will go in Thanksgiving boxes that the shelter prepares every year.

Volunteers and patrons of the shelter gathered the turkeys and brought them in, storing them in the kitchen’s freezer. Among them was Ski Sale Coordinator Malou Peabody, who is also spearheading the second annual Giving Thanks movement.

Giving Thanks is a food drive that runs at the same time as the annual Ski Sale, asking for food donations in exchange for a cup of coffee as people stand in line for the sale. The sale, which has been going for more than 60 years, serves as a place for people to buy discounted skiing and other winter gear. It’s taking place this coming Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Peabody said the idea came up a couple years ago as she spoke with a fellow event organizer about ways to increase the scope of the sale.

“How can we really make the Ski Sale a more well-rounded winter event?” Peabody said they asked. “Between the two of us, we thought, ‘Hey, we’re getting ready for our winters by buying gear, how about we think at the same time about the needy people and make it a place where people can make donations to help people meet their basic needs for winter?’”

It began last year, helping raising money to give to the Glory Hole for the Thanksgiving boxes as well as food itself. The Glory Hole’s Thanksgiving box program has been going for years, and volunteers will distribute the boxes through a partnership with Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in the coming weeks to those who sign up for them.

Allen Marine gave money last year to the movement, but Allen Marine Administrative Coordinator Cassandra Strahin said Monday that they wanted to be more involved this year.

“It’s just the biggest part of Thanksgiving, is turkeys for everybody,” Strahin said after the turkeys were stored in the freezer. “We were just excited to help out.”

NorthStar Trekking, Airlift Northwest, Mark Kelley Photography, Wings Airways, LifeMed Alaska and Eaglecrest are also sponsoring the food drive.

Individuals looking to donate are welcome at the Glory Hole, located at 247 S. Franklin St. For those going to the Ski Sale, Glory Hole volunteers will be there at 6:30 a.m. to accept donations and distribute coffee. Giving Thanks will also be accepting donations at the three designated drop-off events prior to the Ski Sale. These events are from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, 4:30-8:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30-9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Glory Hole Interim Director Kyle Hargrave said donations will be accepted through Nov. 22 (the day before Thanksgiving), and they’ll take just about any kind of nonperishable food that people want to donate. Turkeys tend to be the hardest item to find, so those on hand Monday were ecstatic to get such a good start to the season.

“We’re growing this year already. We have 20 more turkeys at this point this year than last year. I look forward to it growing every year.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com.

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