Thanksgiving Blessing provides thousands of Anchorage families with turkeys and fixings

Volunteers load-up a vehicle during Thanksgiving Blessing
Volunteers load-up a vehicle during Thanksgiving Blessing(ktuu)
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 7:11 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Food Bank of Alaska estimated they would serve up to 10,000 Anchorage families with a Thanksgiving meal at the annual Thanksgiving Blessing event held in Anchorage on Monday.

At the Tikahtnu Commons, the line of cars waiting to pick-up turkeys never slowed. Cara Durr, communications director for the Food Bank, said she was not surprised.

“Our numbers, as well as our partner’s numbers, are all up right now. We’ve definitely seen a big increase in need,” said Durr. “To put that into perspective, between our two mobile food distribution sites in Anchorage, the mobile food pantries and the Tikahtnu distribution site, we jumped to a 50% increase in the number of households we are serving, just since September to October.”

COVID-19 has increased the number of people who are out of work and struggling. It also turned this year’s Blessing into a drive-up event where volunteers loaded up boxes of food and a turkey into people’s cars. The exception was a smaller site at the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club which served walk-ups.

“This site almost didn’t happen,” said Phil Cannon, pastor of the Mountain View Hope Church. Cannon said a lot of people in the community don’t have transportation and would not have been able to get to the bigger sites.

“We called the Food Bank and asked, ‘how can we make a satellite site happen for neighbors who can’t get there?’”

Cannon said volunteers from the community were mostly staffing the Mountain View site.

Durr said the entire event relies on support from the community. The Food Bank purchased $189,000 worth of turkeys according to Durr, much of the money was from donations and grants.

“We are partnering with the Faith Community to make this happen which involves hundreds of volunteers, tons of sponsorships,” she said. “And really the goal is to just bless our neighbors with a Thanksgiving meal that they might not be able to afford.”

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