United Way of Aroostook is once again partnering with Townsquare Media to host the High Five Turkey Drive that has brought thousands of dollars to Aroostook County food pantries over the past few years during Thanksgiving. United Way of Aroostook will work 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 to help keep the community healthy. The “live-on-air” event will take place at Priority Auto Sales in Houlton on Wednesday, November 3rd from 9am until 5pm; Thursday, November 4th in Fort Kent at John’s Shurfine & St. John Valley Pharmacy from 9am until 5pm; and again, on Friday, November 5th at Star City IGA in Presque Isle from 9am until 6pm. All events will run 9am until 5pm.
Last year generous donors donated just over $14,000 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 due to the increased needs being seen in the communities.
“Each year the event has brought so much relief to pantries and organizations that work hard to get a special meal out to those in need,” said Sarah Duncan, executive director of the United Way of Aroostook. “It warms your heart to see the people who work so hard at each pantry and organization to see their surprise and appreciation for the extra assistance they desperately need to do the work they do around the holidays. 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.”
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. “We loved to see the individuals that would stop by the table and contribute and give to make sure their friends, family and neighbors were cared for during the holidays. We have gotten to know a lot of the donors as they have repeatedly shown up to support the event and often bringing their children along with them. Last year in Houlton we had two children who came and donated all the money they had made from selling their pumpkins,” added Duncan.
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 764-5197.