The Drexel University Alumni Association's Alumni Holiday Turkey Project had a lot to celebrate this year!
2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the Project which was established in the 1970's by a group of Drexel graduates known as the Alumnae Planning Board. As it was then, and still is today, the purpose of the Turkey Project is to spread the warmth of the holiday season with Drexel’s neighbors by providing families in-need with turkeys.
In honor of the 40th anniversary, a lofty goal to raise $20,000 for the Project was set, and the response to the Alumni Association's call for donations was incredible! With contributions from alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University, we actually raised more than $20,000 and collected the highest amount ever raised in a single year for the Turkey Project!
The generous donations allowed the Alumni Association to purchase 1,030 frozen turkeys for Drexel's West Philadelphia neighbors and those served by Drexel's 11th Street Family Health Services Center in North Philadelphia.
Friday, Dec. 20 was turkey distribution day, the day that volunteers unload all of the frozen turkeys along Market Street and distribute them to the community organizations who then give them to the families. This year, the Alumni Association welcomed 118 alumni, faculty and staff volunteers to the Paul Peck Alumni Center for turkey distribution. It was a festive morning, celebrating this long-standing holiday tradition!
"My thanks go to the Alumni Association for providing alumni the opportunity to give to the community and to be a part of the giving," said Helene Engel '90. "It was a great experience being there to help with the turkey distribution."
Long-time Turkey Project supporter and Drexel graduate Fred Ulmer '57 said, "I've been volunteering with the Turkey Project for the past 20 years. My favorite part is the camaraderie of the large group that comes together to help. The list of people who need our turkeys goes on and on and these folks are Drexel's neighbors, so as an alumnus this is something I'm happy to do."
Representatives from 33 community organizations came to the Paul Peck Alumni Center throughout the morning to pick up their turkeys. Many expressed their gratitude to the Alumni Association and to those who have supported the Turkey Project throughout the years.
"I wish to convey my heartfelt thanks to my alma mater, Drexel University, for the work that you continue to do through the Drexel Alumni Turkey Project to help alleviate hunger," said Reverend Carlton E. Rodgers '77, pastor of Tabernacle Lutheran Church in West Philadelphia. "Our church has been a recipient of turkeys for the past three years, and we have been able to assist more than 75 families with a holiday dinner basket as a result."
Reverend Rodger's sentiments were echoed by Shirley Pickens, youth and outreach coordinator for the 18th District Community Town Watch. "Our organization has participated in the Turkey Project for many years and the community has greatly benefited by your generosity," said Pickens. "Each year the need of the families in our community has grown and we have been blessed with your help, to be able to provide a small token of true holiday cheer. As one of our community members said when we gave him his turkey, 'Thank God someone remembered me.'"
And finally, a word of thanks from Bishop Andrew J. Ford, II, presiding bishop and senior pastor at Ford Memorial Temple, Inc. "The Alumni Holiday Turkey Project has partnered with us over the past five years to provide a great holiday meal for some of the families and seniors in the Nicetown area of Philadelphia," said Bishop Ford. "Our food pantry along with the donations from the Turkey Project feed 50 families during the holiday season. The needs of our communities are great and it's a blessing to know that we've had the Alumni Association's support throughout the years."
"Through the Turkey Project, the Alumni Association has been privileged to serve its Philadelphia neighbors for the past four decades," said Cristina Geso, associate vice president of Alumni Relations. "Thank you to everyone who supported the Turkey Project this year. Whether you made a donation, or helped to distribute turkeys to the community organizations, your generosity was appreciated by many."