Food Pantry gives away 160 Thanksgiving turkeys

At a Thanksgiving food distribution event, community members received turkeys, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and other seasonal food items. (Nov. 23, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Families visiting Cordova’s Salvation Army food pantry Monday, Nov. 23 received cans of sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie filling, as well as 160 frozen turkeys. None of the 150 families who arrived to receive food had to be turned away, organizers said. A time-saving voucher system also allowed the event to avoid bottlenecks while following social-distancing rules.

Demand at the food pantry has increased steadily for the past 12 months, with the number of people signed up to receive food increasing from around 40 to over 150. A budget that was once ample now sometimes runs short, leaving the food pantry’s shelves mostly bare. However, donations have helped close the gap, including a $1,500 contribution made Nov. 23 by the Anchorage-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Local businesses including the Seafood Sales Co. have also contributed.

Donations like the IBEW’s are a significant help when it comes to purchasing pricey food items like 15-pound frozen turkeys, said food pantry coordinator Katherine Mead, who organized the Nov. 23 distribution.

Food pantry coordinator Katherine Mead packs a bag full of Thanksgiving foodstuffs. (Nov. 23, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

“If people can give, it will help us,” Mead said. “If they have a need, they can come and we will help them. It’s cyclical.”

Mead is hopeful that donations will help restock the food pantry’s shelves in time for Christmas. The food pantry is also in need of volunteers, she said. Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Mead at 907-429-7177.

“Need is increasing, so we’re just hoping that our donations match or exceed our need, so we can be there not only for this month, but next month,” Mead said.