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Annual Turkey Drive is back and BIGGER

Date: 11/8/2010

Going on 23 years now, the Alvernia Turkey Drive has helped to feed families in the Greater Reading community. Long-time professor Polly Mathys and staffer John Luvisi take time out of their busy schedules to work with organizations (like the Red Cross and the Fleetwood Food Pantry) to help feed needy families during the holidays.

In the last few years, need has risen dramatically — and this year is no different. In fact, the need has more than doubled this year. WE NEED HELP.

So don’t be surprised to see a four-foot stuffed turkey, named Francis, attending Alvernia events and classes during the next few weeks (with Professor Mathys in tow).
Alvernia students, employees, and people from the local community are asked to join Francis, Polly, and John in this year’s turkey drive any way they can. Donate turkeys, canned goods, or money to the drive, and help bring cheer to 205 families or 260 elderly veterans — right here in Berks County.

The need has risen:

Fleetwood Area Food Pantry has 120 families that count on Alvernia, up from 95 last year
The Red Cross has 260 elderly veterans in their care, up from 240 last year
We still have the 8 families from Berks Connections Pretrial Services
We picked up 70 shut-ins through the Grace & Hope Mission in Reading
We have about 7 families through the Olivet Boys & Girls Club we picked up last year

So what does that mean? Though last year’s drive was the biggest ever, it has DOUBLED this year.

And time is short:

Distribution Day at the Fleetwood pantry is Tuesday, November 23
Red Cross Christmas Basket donations go to the Red Cross on December 10

You can help:

Donate turkeys: 10 to 14-pound frozen birds. Bring them to campus on November 23. If you need to have it stored before that, just let John (x8379) or Polly (x8283) know and we’ll get it stored for you.

Donate canned goods: The drive also provides meals to go with the turkeys. New for this year, Alvernia is partnering with the kids at Millmont School (thanks to alum Ryan Oberly and the Alvernia SIFE club). But we still more!

MONEY — Cash or checks (payable to John Luvisi) will be used to buy even more food for the drive.

Want to help Francis meet his goal? Email him c/o

Checks can be sent to John Luvisi in the Institutional Advancement office of Alvernia University, 540 Upland Ave. Reading, PA 19611

Img: Francis the Turkey

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.