As Thanksgiving draws near, some of Juneau’s charitable nonprofits and restaurants will band together to make sure everyone in the city gets a hot meal for the holiday.
“It’s come together pretty smoothly. We live in such a great community, everyone’s willing to help,” said Gina Halverson, Salvation Army officer, in a phone interview. “Right now, it’s taken a little village. We have three restaurants that are making the meals. Dick Hand and his crew will be cooking the turkeys.”
The Salvation Army and the United Way of Southeast Alaska are working with the Hangar on the Wharf, T.K. MaGuire’s, and Bocca al Lupo to prepare nearly 600 meals for anyone who wants one in addition to the clients of several local shelters, said Kirk Stagg, who manages the Juneau Cares program for United Way.
“We have three different restaurants that are making 200 meals each,” Stagg said in a phone interview. “We are going to deliver 500 meals to the Salvation Army food truck and 100 meals to AWARE and the Glory Hall.”
Glory Hall executive director Mariya Lovishchuk thanked the organizations for their support in this complicated time.
“The meals are coming to the Glory Hall per usual,” Lovishchuk said during a phone interview. “We’re definitely covered on all the sides.”
The meals are available for anyone from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, and will be served out of a food truck located at the Downtown Transit Center, Staff said. Anyone can come and grab a meal, for themselves or for a friend or acquaintance who may have difficulty getting out to pick up a meal themselves. Halverson said those picking up meals for others could call ahead at 586-2136 to have a meal set aside for a rapid pickup.
“Although it will look different from the customary dine-in event, I’m proud that we could come together as a community, and carry on with this tradition, despite the challenges of the so-called ‘new normal,’” said Hangar owner Reecia Wilson in a press release. “In particular, I want to acknowledge the contributions of my fellow restaurateurs, and donations we received from United Way and Salvation Army, and Dick Hand of Alaska Seafoods, who has smoked the turkeys for the past 23 years.”
While planning and executing this year’s modified dinner was difficult, Halverson, hard work from the volunteers and donations from the community allowed them to pull it off.
“It took a little village, but by the grace of god it came together,” Halverson said. “We are prepared for 500 meals. If people need it, we’re ready to give it.”
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Juneau’s yearly food basket deliveries also went off smoothly with the help of the community, said general manager Dave Ringle.
“The generosity of this community is humbling. Our biggest problem when distributing all food baskets by volunteers was keeping the traffic line from backing onto Crest Street, half a block away,” Ringle said in an email. “Over 40 vehicles with pairs of people who were in each other’s bubble helped distribute boxes. While we were missing a few items for the remaining baskets, a church youth group raised $700 over the weekend and filled those needs.”
With around 450 food baskets delivered to homes across Juneau, Ringle thanked the agencies that assisted, including the Salvation Army, Love Inc., United Way, the Zach Gordon Youth Center, and the Juneau Rotary, among others.
Need a meal?
The Salvation Army will be giving out Thanksgiving meals from their food truck to all drive-ups or walk-ups from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 26 at the Downtown Transit Center. No reservations are required. Meals will include turkey and regular Thanksgiving sides such as greens, vegetables and pie.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or email@example.com.