Less than two days before the first of about 100 Juneau families are set to pick up their Thanksgiving Day dinner boxes from the Glory Hole, Executive Director Mariya S. Lovishchuk said Monday that she is “kind of freaking out” over the shelter’s shortage of food for the boxes.
According to Lovishchuk, the Glory Hole is down to just five turkeys — perhaps fewer — and has little else to provide for needy families that have signed up to receive Thanksgiving boxes. She is asking the community for help.
“Usually … most of the stuff that goes into Thanksgiving boxes comes from the community, and this year, we just are super-short on turkeys,” Lovishchuk said. “We don’t have any canned vegetables, no canned beans, no canned corn. We don’t have any mashed potatoes. We have no butter. We have no pies. And so if the community of Juneau wants to look for a way to help somebody during this Thanksgiving holiday time, bringing in these items would be really, really wonderful, or sending us a check so we can buy those items.”
People can drop off food at the Glory Hole, which is located on South Franklin Street, between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., Lovishchuk said. They can also drop off or mail in checks for Glory Hole staff to use to purchase food.
Lovishchuk said that while worrying about the amount of food that the shelter has for its Thanksgiving boxes has become something of an annual experience for her, donations have always materialized by now.
“Every year, kind of like a couple weeks out, I get really nervous,” Lovishchuk admitted. “Usually, everything magically appears right before it has to appear. But it’s never been this close.”
At the Salvation Army as well, Lt. Kim Warriner said donations this season have been slow.
“This time last year, we had 20-some turkeys, and this year, we have zero at this time,” said Warriner. “But I’m pretty sure that everyone is going to step up to the plate.”
The Salvation Army relies on donations and support from individuals and local businesses for its Thanksgiving Day community dinner, held at the downtown hangar.
“We need 50 turkeys at least for our dinner, and we haven’t received any yet,” Capt. Donald Warriner said. He added, “Last year, we served almost 500 people. So I presume this year is going to be just as high, if not higher.”
Neither of the Warriners seemed too concerned, with Donald Warriner saying that he expects turkey donations to start coming in faster once he takes to the radio next week to spread the word about the Salvation Army’s need. They speculated that the Gastineau Apartments fire, which displaced about 50 building residents (http://bit.ly/TWI0nN), may have drawn the spotlight away from the upcoming holiday.
“With the Gastineau Apartments fire, we’ve been flooded with food,” said Kim Warriner. It has not been Thanksgiving food, though, she said, “but more of the canned food, nonperishables, that sort of thing.”
Even though the Glory Hole is short on Thanksgiving food right now, Lovishchuk said families in need can still sign up to receive a Thanksgiving box. Wednesday, when the first 30 families are expected to pick up their boxes, is the last day they can sign up.
Next month, when the Glory Hole does its Christmas boxes, it will be working with the Salvation Army, Lovishchuk added.
“We are partnering to do Christmas boxes together,” Lovishchuk said. “That’s kind of a measure we’re taking to kind of deal with this shortage of food that seems to be going around.”
The Glory Hole is currently holding a fundraiser for a separate cause.
“We are in the middle of a big weatherization project. We are getting new siding, more insulation, an electric boiler, new windows and new doors,” said Lovishchuk. During the course of the project, she continued, “We found a lot of rot in our building.”
In order to pay for the rot treatment, the Glory Hole is selling bags of tamales made by local Mexican restaurants El Sombrero, El Zarape and Olivia’s de Mexico.
“We’re hoping to raise $10,000,” Lovishchuk said. “That’s probably what it’s going to end up being.”
Tamales will be available for pickup starting next Monday.
But Lovishchuk said the Glory Hole’s Thanksgiving box recipients want turkeys, not tamales.
“We can’t give them tamales, because we have to pay for the rot in the building,” said Lovishchuk.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at email@example.com.