8,000 families expected at Thanksgiving Blessing event today

mtheriault@adn.comNovember 24, 2013 

On Monday, the annual Thanksgiving Blessing will offer an estimated 8,000 Anchorage families the groceries to make a traditional Thanksgiving meal at home, turkey and pumpkin pie included, for free.

On Sunday night in the gym at the Mountain View Community Center, volunteers put the finishing touches on the spread.

There were mountains of potatoes and pyramids of canned cranberry sauce and somewhere, thousands of frozen turkeys waiting to go home with families for their big moment on Thursday.

There's more need than ever.

At the Mountain View site alone, 1,900 families are expected.

Churches and businesses from all over Anchorage donate food, supplies and time.

"There are hundreds, probably thousands, of volunteers," said Karla Jurzi of the Food Bank of Alaska, which has coordinated the event since 2004.

When Mountain View site coordinator Eileen Starr first volunteered eight years ago, only 600 families showed up there.

Overall, about 10 percent more meals will be given away this year, said Jurzi.

"There are a lot of people in Anchorage living on the edge," she said. "If one little thing goes wrong -- a car breaks, rent goes up -- they are in trouble for that month."

In Mountain View, families start lining up at noon, an hour before doors open, Jurzi said. The line winds through the building and out the door.

They get potatoes, canned vegetables, gravy mix, a pumpkin pie, rolls, cranberry sauce and a turkey and roasting pan, among other fixings.

Families can go to one of seven sites to pick the food up: Crosspoint Church, Faith Christian Community, Central Lutheran Church, St. Patrick's Church, Alaska Native Cultural Charter School, Mountain View Community Center and Joy Lutheran Church.

What you should know:

The event is from 3 p.m.-8 p.m. on Monday, though doors may open earlier at some sites.

No pre-registration is necessary, but families should take proof of address and go to the correct site for their neighborhood.

Site assignments are based on zip codes. The best way to find out which location to go to is to call 211 for information.

There are seven Anchorage locations:

--Crosspoint Church: Dimond and Minnesota

--Faith Christian Community: 4240 Wisconsin Street

--Central Lutheran Church: Cordova and 15th streets

--St. Patrick's Church: 2111 Muldoon Road

--Alaska Native Cultural Charter School: 550 Bragaw Street

--Mountain View Community Center: 315 North Price Street

--Joy Lutheran Church: 10111 East Eagle River Loop Road

How you can help:

The Food Bank of Alaska is seeking financial donations to help completely cover the cost of the event. Go to foodbankofalaska.org for details.


Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.

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