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Hundreds of Thanksgiving meals given to the needy in Juneau

Thanksgiving meals distributed in downtown Juneau
Thanksgiving meals distributed in downtown Juneau(KTUU)
Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 4:48 PM AKST
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Hundreds of Thanksgiving meals were distributed in Juneau to people who might have missed out.

Speaking outside the Downtown Transit Center, Major Gina Halverson said the Salvation Army has organized a community Thanksgiving meal for the past 20 years. COVID-19 meant people didn’t eat together, but took their meals to go.

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” said Walter Bennett as he picked up four meals for someone who didn’t have a car.

The boxes contained turkey and all the trimmings. “It’s everything you need for a nice Thanksgiving meal,” Halverson said.

The Salvation Army, partnering with the United Way, hoped to distribute 600 meals to Alaskans who didn’t have anyone to eat with or people who may not be able to afford a holiday meal.

“It’s so meaningful,” said Nadine Peratrovich after lining up to take a meal. “Because I don’t have any place to cook or any means to buy anything. So, it’s just awesome.”

The United Way used its CARES Act funds to buy the food, which was cooked by three local restaurants.

The need for charity in the community isn’t limited to Thanksgiving.

Kirk Stagg with the United Way said there had been an increased need for food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Right now we’re up to 30,000 meals,” he said. “And, by the end of the year, we will have paid for local community members to make 50,000 meals.”

The Salvation Army has also seen an increased need in the past year. Halverson said there had been a big jump of food boxes being delivered every week across Juneau.

“We used to do 32 to 72 families a week,” she said. “And we’ve jumped up to 144 boxes a week.”

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