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Charities prepare to feed Thanksgiving crowd

By Heather Hintze 11:05 AM November 19, 2013

Bean's Café and the Food Bank of Alaska need more donations to help feed thousands in need

ANCHORAGE – The holidays are about lending a hand to neighbors in need.

“This is one hour of my time, and I feel like I’m really making a difference in people’s lives,” said Deborah Bruening, who was serving lunch at Bean’s Café with her church group Tuesday.

Volunteers serve up to 800 meals a day at the organization, but Bean’s needs help to feed even more people.

“Hams are good, turkeys are good,” said Development Director Ken Miller. “Also things like bread rolls, we’re a little low on right now. Vegetables. Number 10 cans are what we like.”

Bean’s will feed about 600 people at its Fall Feast at Clark Middle School on Thursday, Nov. 21. Another 1,200 people are expected Thanksgiving Day.

“Every year it seems to go up,” Miller said. “We get a lot of people from the Lower 48, there’s also what we call the ‘working poor’ that use our resources. We’re fortunate we have the capability with the help of the community through their financial donations, volunteering donations and in-kind donations of food items.”

The Food Bank of Alaska is also getting ready for one of its biggest events of the season: Thanksgiving Blessing.

“During the holidays we have massive events that take community effort. Businesses, agencies, individuals to make these events come off both from a financial standpoint and logistical standpoint,” said Executive Director Michael Miller.

The food bank spent $155,000 on turkeys to feed more than 10,000 people. The best way to help is to donate money because the effort is still about $50,000 short.

Michael Miller said anything helps.

“We could always use more turkeys and more food; we’d never turn that away,” he said. “Right now, we feel like we have enough to make this event happen. Of course, we don’t know what’s going to happen on the event, so we may need more afterwards as we’re getting ready for Christmas.”

Thanksgiving Blessing is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at churches in Palmer and Wasilla. In Anchorage, it’s from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 25.

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