Donations help Glory Hole for Thanksgiving meals

Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Whether it's a boxed Thanksgiving meal, turkey sandwiches or a full traditional spread at area restaurants, there are plenty of opportunities for Juneau residents, needy or not, to partake in holiday festivities this Thursday.

Thanks to donations from Bartlett Regional Hospital and the U.S. Forest Service, the financially strapped Glory Hole is distributing food boxes this week. The hospital and Forest Service donated nearly 2,000 pounds of food.

"We looked at some of the problems they've been having and thought it would be beneficial to send food weight toward them," said Ray Massey, spokesman for the Forest Service's Alaska Region.

In addition to the food boxes, the Glory Hole will offer a Thanksgiving Day brunch at 10 a.m. and turkey sandwiches at 6 p.m., said Executive Director Jetta Whittaker.

The Glory Hole's limited finances prevented it from offering a main Thanksgiving Day meal, she said. Whittaker is encouraging Glory Hole patrons to eat Thanksgiving dinner at the Hangar on the Wharf from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. That meal is a joint effort of the Hangar and Salvation Army.

Hospital employee Barb Sharp said she suggested the hospital support the Glory Hole for Thanksgiving.

"All of us have a responsibility to look at social justice and social needs in our community," Sharp said.

Massey said about 155 staffers at the Forest Service made a contest of donating. The general counsel's office won a free lunch after its five staffers donated the most - 31.8 pounds per person.

In the Mendenhall Valley, St. Vincent de Paul and Jovany's restaurant also are preparing to feed the hungry.

St. Vincent de Paul has food baskets for 225 families with nearly 50 more on a waiting list, said Joe Oliver, a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

People on the waiting list may call St. Vincent de Paul at about 6 p.m. Wednesday to see whether there are any leftover baskets, Oliver said. The public is asked to call ahead to see whether volunteers are needed to distribute baskets, he said.

Jovany's is holding its 10th annual Thanksgiving lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., said owner Nenita Soriano.

"I'm Catholic and I feel everything I have is coming from God," Soriano said. "I want to share with those who are less fortunate."

Not everyone who comes to the Thanksgiving meal is needy, Soriano said.

Some retired people without families here come to the dinner. Three years ago, Soriano fed people stranded at the Juneau Airport. Jovany's also feeds airport employees who have to work on the holiday, she said.

The restaurant can serve up to 150 people and last year fed about 90, Soriano said. It prepared seven large turkeys and about a dozen pumpkin pies.

After the meal, Jovany's has a family gathering of its own, she said, but will feed members of the public who arrive late.

"I always open the door to them," Soriano said.

• Tara Sidor can be reached at

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