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Palmer’s Real Life Church helps give people reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 21, 2021 at 5:31 PM AKST
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - People filled Real Life Church in Palmer, not for a sermon, but to seek help.

The participants in the annual Valley Thanksgiving Blessing received free baskets of food. The church is one of five locations around the Matanuska-Susitna Borough that took part in the event. Families who came by each of the five locations received a frozen turkey and all the trimmings they need to cook a hot, holiday meal.

“It means a pretty good year for Thanksgiving for me and my family,” said Chris Robinson, one of the recipients.

The Food Bank of Alaska once again organized the distribution with its partners, including the Salvation Army. This year’s event expects to feed around 12,000 families in need around the Mat-Su Borough and Anchorage.

“My husband’s been out of work, both of us have been out of work since the pandemic hit last year and he’s on disability so it meant a lot,” said Linda Armistead, another recipient.

This year’s total is about 1,000 more families compared to last year.

“It helps people have a nice Thanksgiving meal, it’s one less thing they have to worry about this season,” said Major Kevin Bottjen with the Salvation Army Mat-Su Valley Corps.

Since 2019, the Alaska Food Bank said it has seen an increase of more than 27% in the number of families that need help at Thanksgiving. The Salvation Army is not surprised.

“The economy’s not doing so hot this year and there’s a lot of people that are finding, as we’ve often heard, too much month at the end of the money,” said Bottjen. “Because of that, there’s, there’s just not an opportunity to really go get what they would really love for Thanksgiving.”

Generosity has given many families reason to feel thankful this holiday.

The Anchorage Thanksgiving Blessing will take Monday, November 22, at six locations including Eagle River.

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