Carrying it for you
Volunteers load, carry Thanksgiving foods to those in need
Volunteer Tyler Thorton mans the canned vegetable section of this year’s Thanksgiving Blessing, which served holiday staples to more than 350 families at Joy Lutheran Church on Nov. 25.
The Joy Lutheran Church parking lot was packed Monday, Nov. 25 as families trudged through slush to pick up holiday fixings.
Inside, volunteers bustled about, calling out names and directing children towards the cookie platter.
The Food Bank of Alaska’s Thanksgiving Blessing was in full swing.
According to site coordinator Virginia Marquez, the event, which was in its sixth year in Eagle River, had already served 100 families and contained food to supply 300 more.
“We get so excited when it’s so busy,” she said.
Clients registered at the front table, where they were given a number and a card, based on family size. They were then assigned a personal shopper to help them pack and carry their food choices.
According to Marquez, the role of the personal shopper is to put clients at ease while ensuring they receive everything necessary for a Thanksgiving feast.
“It’s a beautiful way to assist people in need, to ask them, ‘What do you want?’” Marquez said.
Personal shoppers wheeled shopping carts and carried blue Walmart cloth bags down an aisle loaded with everything from canned corn to stuffing mix to plump, frozen turkeys waiting outside in a truck. Clients were also supplied with an aluminum roasting pan, where a small booklet “Letters From God” nestled inside.
“We even have someone to carry the groceries out to the car,” Marquez said. “They don’t have to carry anything. This is to make them feel special.”
She estimated that approximately 300 volunteers are needed to fuel the food drive each year.
Melia Talbot was one of those, volunteering for her second year.
“We love to help people, and it’s a great way to get our kids involved,” she said.
According to the Food Bank of Alaska, the Thanksgiving Blessing provided food for more than 10,000 families in the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas, the most since the event began.
Last year, the event served 9,525 families.
Contact Cinthia Ritchie at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.