34-year Alvernia tradition provides holidays meals despite national turkey shortage
For the 34th consecutive year, Alvernia distributed holiday meals to residents in need during its Turkey Drive event held at the university’s downtown Reading location at 401 Penn Street.
“Our core value of service allows all of us, students, faculty, staff and administration to all be together today to help those who need a little hand,” said Alvernia University Senior Vice President and Provost Glynis Fitzgerald. “Being part of the 34-year tradition is so rewarding and truly showcases our desire to work together with our community to meet its needs.”
The event comes together with the help of students, faculty, staff, and community volunteers to provide donations of turkeys, grocery store gift cards and other food items to those in need in the Reading area. Thanks to partnerships with Jaindl Farms, Redner’s Markets and Penske Truck Leasing, the University provided over 500 turkeys and holiday meals, a major undertaking due to the national turkey shortage.
“We were finally able to call upon our friends at Jaindl Farms and work with them and our Office of Institutional Advancement to reach our goal of 500 turkeys for the community,” said Senior Director of Mission & Ministry Jamie Caporizo.
The Alvernia Turkey Drive, founded in 1987, began by just feeding a few local families in need. Polly Mathys, a longtime member of the Alvernia faculty and founder of the Turkey Drive, has overseen the growth of the Alvernia tradition. The expansion over the years now involves many student volunteers, who now consider the Turkey Drive a university tradition that represents the university’s Franciscan core values.
“I think it is a cool legacy of Alvernia, something we have been doing for 34 years now,” said Alvernia University graduate student and Graduate Assistant for the Office of Mission and Ministry Hannah Wolfe. “I think it is important that we are engaging with the community. It is important for us to have a presence in the community to show we are more than just a new building in downtown.”