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

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Sept. 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

People work together to raise the Xa’Kooch story pole, which commemorates the Battle of the Inian Islands. (Shaelene Grace Moler / For the Capital City Weekly)
Resilient Peoples & Place: The Xa’Kooch story pole — one step toward a journey of healing

“This pole is for the Chookaneidi, but here among us, many clans are represented…”

A bracket fungus exudes guttation drops and a small fly appears to sip one of them.( Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Water drops on plants

Guttation drops contain not only water but also sugars, proteins, and probably minerals.

A chart shows what critics claim is poor financial performance by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, especially in subsidizing private industry projects intended to boost the state’s economy, during its 55-year existence. The chart is part of a report released Tuesday criticizing the agency. (MB Barker/LLC Erickson & Associates/EcoSystems LLC)
AIDEA’s fiscal performance fishy, critics say

Report presented by salmon industry advocates asserts state business subsidy agency cost public $10B

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a foreign vessel in the Bering Sea, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across the guided missile cruiser from the People's Republic of China, officials said Monday, Sept. 26.  (U.S. Coast Guard District 17 via AP)
Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

This wasn’t the first time Chinese naval ships have sailed near Alaska waters.

An Alaska judge has ruled that a state lawmaker affiliated with the Oath Keepers, Rep. David Eastman, shown in this February 2022 photo, may stay on the general election ballot in November even though he's likely ineligible to hold public office  (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge ordered delaying certifying the result of the race until a trial scheduled for December.

Water rushes down Front Street, just a half block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok moved into the region. It was a massive storm system — big enough to cover the mainland U.S. from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska and from Canada to Texas. It influenced weather systems as far away as California, where a rare late-summer storm dropped rain on the northern part of the state, offering a measure of relief to wildfire crews but also complicating fire suppression efforts because of mud and loosened earth. (AP Photo / Peggy Fagerstrom)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

ANCHORAGE — There’s been significant damage to some roads and homes in… Continue reading

j
Sniffen indicted on sexual abuse counts

Sniffen will be arraigned Monday.

Most Read