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‘Thanksgiving miracle’ brings turkeys to Armstrong needy

Two anonymous donors are making sure nobody receiving assistance from the food bank in Armstrong County has to go without a Thanksgiving turkey.

Salvation Army Lt. Amber Imhoff said the donors gave $10,000 Wednesday morning to be used to purchase $10 turkey vouchers to give to families served by the Armstrong County Community Action Agency’s food bank.

“A couple of our supporters read about the problem and couldn’t think about eating their own Thanksgiving dinners knowing others would go without,” Imhoff said. “So they came to us and gave us a Thanksgiving miracle.”

Food bank recipients will be able to pick up their turkey vouchers at noon Thursday at the agency’s main office at 705 Butler Road, East Franklin.

The $10,000 gift, supplemented by money received from donations throughout the year — including several small ones that came in Wednesday — will ensure all 1,380 families served by 19 food pantries run by the agency will get a turkey for the holiday.

“It’s amazing to know there are people out there who will step up like these donors have done for us,” food bank Manager Robin Rainey said. “This literally happened overnight. We’re so excited to be able to get these vouchers out to our families. The next few days will be crazy, but it’s a good thing because everybody will be able to have their turkey.”

The scare that families would have all the trimmings but no turkey came this week when the agency failed to get vouchers that usually come from the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank in time for Thanksgiving. Money for the vouchers is supplied by the KDKA-TV’s Turkey Fund.

Charlese McKinney, the network development director for the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, said donations came into the organization slowly this year, which kept them from providing Armstrong County with the 1,400 vouchers Community Action requested. The program provides roughly 120,000 turkeys to food banks in 11 counties.

“We’re not experiencing a shortage in donations, it’s just they come in at different rates each year,” McKinney said. “This year was just a matter of timing — when they picked up their food last week, we just didn’t have enough on hand to get to them.”

Although the donations didn’t make it in time for Thanksgiving, McKinney said the food bank will have the vouchers for Armstrong County in December.“This means our people will be able to have two turkeys – one for Thanksgiving and another for Christmas,” Rainey said. “And that’s a wonderful thing.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or [email protected].


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