Community

High Five Turkey Drive returns to stuff pantry food boxes

United Way of Aroostook is once again partnering with Townsquare Media to host the High Five Turkey Drive that has yearly brought thousands of dollars to Aroostook County food pantries during Thanksgiving. United Way of Aroostook uses all monetary donations to provide local grocery store gift certificates to food pantries that provide Thanksgiving baskets to those they serve.

This year’s event will continue to focus more on collecting gift cards and monetary donations instead of actual turkeys to decrease the number of times the turkeys are handled as well as solve the problem of pantries having no room to store them for long periods. The “live-on-air” event will take place in Fort Kent at John’s Shurfine & St. John Valley Pharmacy on Wednesday, Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 17 in Houlton at Priority Auto Sales from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.; and again, on Friday, Nov. 19 at Star City IGA in Presque Isle from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. 

Last year generous donors donated just over $15,000 over the three days. That money went to pantries and organizations throughout Aroostook County allowing them to put together Thanksgiving baskets or purchase turkeys to give to those in need of a hand up during the holiday season. This year we are setting a goal at $15,000 once again. 

“I can’t express how much the pantries appreciate the generosity the communities show. I have several pantry managers that cry when I tell them the amount they will be receiving because they can make such a difference in the community not just for Thanksgiving but often also for Christmas as well,” said Sarah Duncan, executive director of the United Way of Aroostook.  “Turkeys are harder for them to store so they have been very appreciative of the gift cards so that they can purchase the turkeys right before their event and not have to store them. They are also able to purchase other parts of a Thanksgiving meal to provide even more to the individuals and families. This may seem like a small event, but it makes a huge impact all over the County.”

Last year’s event saw many businesses and organizations stop by to make large generous donations. Many challenged one another to match or exceed their gift, giving the event a competitive feel at times. United Way of Aroostook and Townsquare Media hopes to see the friendly competition once again around the towns they visit. It wasn’t just the businesses and organizations that made the event so successful. 

“Each year locations have worked harder to raise more money and issue more challenges. We see so many people return year after year and give what they can, but it was amazing last year to see the businesses that really stepped up and participated. Priority Auto & Tractor issued so many challenges in the Houlton area, and they experienced a record-breaking year! We hope to see more businesses in the other locations challenge each other as well and get creative to help fill the need,” Duncan added.

If you would like to participate to support your community, stop by one of the live on location sites or contact United Way of Aroostook for more information at 207-764-5197.

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