Meagan Bryd, an AmeriCorps volunteer, carries a box load of meals toward a vehicle for delivery on Thanksgiving. (Ben Hohenstatt Juneau Empire)

Meagan Bryd, an AmeriCorps volunteer, carries a box load of meals toward a vehicle for delivery on Thanksgiving. (Ben Hohenstatt Juneau Empire)

Wheelin’ and mealin’: Army of volunteers distributes food to hundreds

Gobbling up food.

The day was cold and dreary, but the meals were hot and ready to go to whoever might want one.

The Salvation Army and a cadre of volunteers served up well over Thanksgiving meals on Thursday

“It’s actually been going really well, said Gina Halverson, a Salvation Army officer.

She said shortly before 1 p.m. that more than 400 of about 600 meals had been distributed.

That effort had help from the Salvation Army congregation, AmeriCorps, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, community volunteers, the Glory Hall, Smokehouse Catering, longtime turkey-smoker Dick Hand and others, Halverson said.

Bridget Vivoda, a volunteer with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, carries bags of Thanksgiving meals to a vehicle on Thursday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Bridget Vivoda, a volunteer with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, carries bags of Thanksgiving meals to a vehicle on Thursday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Benami Bean has plenty of bags at the ready while preparing meals for distribution on Thursday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Benami Bean has plenty of bags at the ready while preparing meals for distribution on Thursday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Mark Sabbatini prepares meal bags for distribution on Thursday. Bags were prepped and loaded into insulated containers before making their way to the Salvation Army’s cantina, which was parked in front of the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center . (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Mark Sabbatini prepares meal bags for distribution on Thursday. Bags were prepped and loaded into insulated containers before making their way to the Salvation Army’s cantina, which was parked in front of the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center . (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“It was a huge collaboration,” said Shane Halverson, also a Salvation Army officer.

Organizers said the annual meal distribution is a Juneau tradition that’s happened for over 30 years, although an exact number is murky.

[Juneau reaches out a helping hand for Thanksgiving]

For the past two of those 30-odd years, meal distribution has primarily been done through a walk-up or drive-up model with volunteers also delivering batches of meals to groups. The change was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to avoid large groups in tight quarters.

Abbey Greer and Kelsey Rich show drivers the way in to the Salvation Army’s meal distribution site on Thursday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Abbey Greer and Kelsey Rich show drivers the way in to the Salvation Army’s meal distribution site on Thursday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Shane Halverson said the practice from last year meant that the drive-up/walk-up model was relatively smooth. Additionally, since this year’s event was held in front of the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center, Gina Halverson said people were already used to driving through to make donations. Last year, the Salvation Army cantina parked in front of the Downtown Transit Center.

Despite the developed routine, the Halversons said they hope that 2021’s event is the last one to primarily take place outdoors —

“We hope to go inside next year,” Shane Halverson said. “It kind of loses that family touch.”

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

More in News

Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Feb. 5

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

This photo shows snow-covered hills in the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territories, Canada. In July 1997, a hunter contacted troopers in Fairbanks, Alaska, and reported finding a human skull along the Porcupine River, around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Canadian border. Investigators used genetic genealogy to help identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden, according to a statement Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, from Alaska State Troopers. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)
Skull found in ‘97 in Interior belongs to New York man

A skull found in a remote part of Alaska’s Interior in 1997… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Officer William Hicks stands with JPD Chief Ed Mercer and Deputy Chief David Campbell during a swearing in ceremony for Hicks on Thursday at the JPD station in Lemon Creek. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
New officer joins JPD’s ranks

The Juneau Police Department welcomed a new officer to its ranks Thursday… Continue reading

These photos show Nova, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and the illegally placed body hold trap, commonly referred to as a Conibear trap, that caught her while walking near Outer Point Trail last week. (Courtesy / Jessica Davis)
Dog narrowly survives rare illegally placed trap in Juneau

State wildlife officials outlined what to do if found in similar situation

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Public defender agency to refuse some cases, citing staffing

ANCHORAGE — A state agency that represents Alaskans who cannot afford their… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police: Gift card scam connected to hoax Fred Meyer threats

This article has been moved in front of the Empire’s paywall. A… Continue reading

This is a concept design drawing that was included in the request for proposal sent out by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities seeking outside engineering and design services to determine whether it’s feasible to build a new ferry terminal facility in Juneau at Cascade Point. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
DOT takes steps toward potential Cascade Point ferry terminal facility

It would accommodate the Tazlina and or Hubbard, shorten trips to Haines and Skagway

Most Read