By Katie Benning
When my boys were little, we had a well-viewed version of Jack in the Beanstalk. In this version, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy starred as impoverished farmers. On the brink of starvation, the trio decided to sell their last possession, their cow, for money to buy food. Well, of course, as the story goes, Mickey came back from the market with those very famous magic beans. Donald, in a starvation-induced rage, throws them away, and as you would expect, overnight, a beanstalk grows into the clouds. In this version of the story, the three encounter a giant-size feast in the dining room of the giant and in pure joy and bliss, laugh, play, dance and sing. All their worldly concerns put behind them as they feast on the extravagant bounty of food. The little tune they sing is one of those endearing memories that our family sings to each other every Thanksgiving, “Turkey, lobster, sweet potato pie…” (I’ll sing it for you sometime!)
This little jingle merrily dances in my mind as the board and staff of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Juneau commences planning of the annual Thanksgiving food drive. On Saturday, November 23rd, the weekend before Thanksgiving, over 200 bags of food are either delivered or distributed locally to families. There is a set pickup location at Alaska Housing Community Center (behind the Mendenhall Post Office), or clients can request that their food be delivered to them. And thanks to you, we can do just that! St. Vincent de Paul in Juneau has sponsored this event for a diverse population since 2002, delivering anywhere from 200-500 bags of food! Now that’s a lot of turkeys!
Most important is that no one goes away hungry, all who ask, receive. For anyone that has ever donated and/or participated in this annual charitable event, you are well aware of how heart-warming it is to see how grateful people are when we show up at their door with a turkey, a pie and a large bag of food. We don’t usually give any lobsters away, though.
St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) has never taken on this event alone. Year after year, we rely on the generosity of the community of Juneau to donate food or funds, time or equipment. For example, Lynden Transport donates a container for cold food every year. Western Auto donates a delivery truck for picking up large quantities of food from local stores. Alaska Housing donates space, Breeze In always fills us with delicious donuts, and the youth of St Paul the Apostle and the Cathedral parishes joyfully help by building the “baskets” of food every year. Countless others give extremely generously and still more organize, distribute, and deliver.
SVdP is again reaching out to your generous hearts for food donations and assistance with distributing and providing food. In the coming weeks, donation bins will appear in the narthex of the Cathedral and St. Paul’s parishes. Members of the board will speak from your pulpits to encourage and remind you of all that is needed. We will distribute from 9:00 am-noon from the Community room and make home deliveries from 1:00-4:00 pm that afternoon.
In the donation bins, we welcome typical Thanksgiving fare of non-perishable food items like vegetables, yams, pie makings, gravy, stuffing and mashed potato mixes, and of course, no Thanksgiving meal would be complete without cranberries! Perishable food items like frozen turkeys, pies, butter, dinner rolls, cool whip and potatoes are welcome closer to the date and may be dropped off at the office of the SVdP at 8617 Teal St. or by calling Katie Benning for pickup at (907) 321-0992 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again, Juneau and blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving season.