St. Vincent de Paul kicks off annual Thanksgiving food drive

Recipients can sign up for food baskets on Nov. 2
Volunteer Kade Strickland, right, helps Norman Lott, his wife, Angela, and daughter, Jane, 3, with their Thanksgiving food basket at the Riverbend Housing Complex last year. St. Vincent de Paul hosts a Thanksgiving food drive each year to feed about 500 local families.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society is kicking off their annual Thanksgiving food drive this week and is seeking donations from the community.


Volunteer Rena Sims said the Catholic charitable organization is hoping to fill enough baskets for 500 needy families in Juneau.

Rather than giving away turkey dinners, St. Vincent’s gives people the option of making their own Thanksgiving meal for their families. The organization provides baskets with all the necessary food stuff.

For people interested in donating, some of the needed food items are: turkeys, canned corn, green beans, stuffing, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, cranberry sauce, canned milk, mashed potatoes, gravy mix, fruit cocktail and Jell-O, rolls and butter.

Each basket has a value of about $40 worth of food items.

Food donations and monetary donations can be dropped off at the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s Smith Hall, 8617 Teal Street, each day until 5 p.m. beginning now, Sims said.

Those in need of a basket can begin signing up on Saturday, Nov. 2. The deadline to sign up is Friday, Nov. 15. Sign-up takes place at the same location, Smith Hall by the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store on Teal Street.

Volunteers will begin sorting through the items and placing them in the baskets the weekend before Thanksgiving, which falls on Thursday, Nov. 28 this year.

The organization has consistently given away 500 baskets for the past three years. Sims said the people of Juneau are to thank for that.

“It is the people of Juneau that make this happen for so many needy families,” she said in an interview.

Sims has been running the turkey drive alongside volunteers Louise Wertheimer and Paula Sumdum for more than a decade now. She said many of the families in need are on a fixed income and can’t afford to prepare a Thanksgiving feast.

“It’s nice to know when you sit down at the table that others are eating along with you,” she said, encouraging people to donate.

The Glory Hole soup kitchen and shelter downtown also hosts a Thanksgiving food drive each year and doles out hundreds of Thanksgiving dinner boxes filled with all the fixings of a Thanksgiving dinner. Donations can be dropped off there at 247 S. Franklin St.

The Salvation Army traditionally serves up a prepared Thanksgiving dinner at the Hangar on the Wharf Pub & Grill downtown each year. More information about the dinner will be available at a later date.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at


For more information about the St. Vincent de Paul food drive, or on how to volunteer or donate, call Rena Sims at 209-9993.


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