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United Way of Aroostook holds turkey drive to help feed County folks at Thanksgiving

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Despite cold, rainy weather, volunteers from the United Way of Aroostook and Townsquare Media dedicated most of their time collecting turkeys that will help make Thanksgiving just a little more festive for hundreds of people in need.

United Way ended its third annual High Five Turkey Drive, in partnership with Townsquare Media, on Friday, Nov. 22, at Star City IGA in Presque Isle. They collected 603 turkeys in Presque Isle, nearly 300 turkeys at St. John Valley Pharmacy and John’s Shurfine in Fort Kent on Thursday and 579 turkeys at Priority Auto Sales in Houlton on Wednesday.

People had the option of donating a turkey or giving a cash donation at all three sites. Monetary donations are used for the purchase of gift cards for local food pantries. All turkeys were donated to food pantries throughout Aroostook County and to organizations such as Homeless Services of Aroostook, the Hope and Justice Project and Aroostook Agency on Aging.

“Food insecurity is a huge issue in our community and during the holidays it becomes harder for people to celebrate with a traditional meal,” said Sarah Ennis, executive director of the United Way of Aroostook. “We’re making sure all the pantries are stocked with turkeys and able to provide that need.”

Officials from the Aroostook Agency on Aging stopped by Star City IGA around noon on Friday to pick up 20 turkeys they planned to use for holiday meals served at their six dining sites throughout late November and December. 

“We serve around 200 people a week,” said Dottie Sines, Aroostook County Meals on Wheels director of nutrition.

In addition to the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, Sines said that Agency volunteers will use leftover turkey to bake special treats for senior citizen visitors, including turkey pot pies.

“The meals them a little bit of holiday spirit,” Sines said. “It’s a joy to see them smiling and enjoy each other’s company.”

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