The Food Bank of Alaska expects to feed about 2,500 Mat-Su Valley families through its annual Thanksgiving Blessing.

At the Real Life Church in Palmer on Saturday, Felisha Thomas was grateful to get a helping hand with her Thanksgiving meal.

As a recovering addict, she said she’s especially thankful to be spending the holidays with her family this year.

“It’s my first real holiday being clean and sober and everything. It’s really nice to have something that helps tie up the loose ends,” Thomas said.

Thomas said she’s been sober for more than a year. She struggled with an addiction to opioids and pain pills. Getting pregnant with her daughter Charolette saved her life.

“I didn’t have any reason to live or anything. I was a hopeless junkie,” Thomas said. “I have a mile-long criminal record. Overcoming the shame of being an addict was empowering.”

Her sister, Nichole Stachelrodt, said it means the world to her to have her sister back home.

“I’m her little sister so my entire life I looked up to her. To lose her like I did I thought I’d never get her back, but I’m so glad she came home,” Stachelrodt said.

At the Mat-Su Thanksgiving Blessing, they stocked up with enough food to feed their extended family of seven.

Thomas said without the food bank, they probably wouldn’t have been able to afford a full dinner with all the trimmings.

“It’s amazing to not worry about Thanksgiving dinner. Just have to cook it now," she laughed. "But we've got lots of helping hands for that."

She’s giving thanks for her new start to life with her daughter and the family that’s standing by her side during her continued recovery.

The Anchorage Thanksgiving Blessing is on Monday, Nov. 25 from 3 to 8 p.m. Visit the Food Bank's website for a list of locations. People are asked to bring proof of their address.

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