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Alvernia Holds 30th Annual Turkey Drive

Alvernia Holds 30th Annual Turkey Drive

There are a few things that one expects when Autumn arrives, like pumpkin spice everything, leaves changing colors, and crisp fall nights by a bonfire. However, if you are a member of the Alvernia University community, there is one more thing that you expect to see: Polly Mathys wearing her turkey hat as she promotes her annual Turkey Drive.

Mathys, Alvernia’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative and Assistant Professor of Communication Information Systems, is in the midst of coordinating her 30th annual Turkey Drive. The Turkey Drive began in 1988, and has been running strong ever since.

“We didn’t know the first year was the First Annual Turkey Drive until a couple of years later,” said Mathys. “It was just a chance to collect turkeys and find people who needed them.”

The purpose of the drive is to collect turkeys, and other food items, to donate to local families and organizations in need at Thanksgiving and into the holiday season.  

Back in 1988, Mathys and her Turkey Drive assisted 25 families, and she thought that that was a lot. This year, Mathys anticipates helping approximately 1,100 families – which translates to feeding as many as 6,000 individuals.

The turkeys and other items are collected through individual donations, or purchased using monetary and gift card donations. Items are sorted and distributed through volunteers, many of which are students, with distributing preparations beginning on Saturday, November 18th.

As the deadline for the Turkey Drive draws closer, Mathys says that the drive is most in need of monetary donations – she estimates that they are down about $5,000 from this time last year.

“Money. Cash. Checks. Coin collections. Change from the couch cushions. Even credit cards work,” said Mathys. Monetary donations can be used to pay for large food and turkey orders Mathys places with local grocery chains.

Mathys advised that the Turkey Drive never actually closes down. So, if donations do not get to her by Thanksgiving, she actually has large turkey and ham orders that need to be paid for on December 5th.

“If somebody drops a check off in July, we’re still happy,” said Mathys. “People aren’t just in need on Thanksgiving.”

If you would like to make a donation to the 30th annual Turkey Drive or find out how to volunteer your time, please contact Polly via email at [email protected] or by phone at 484.366.3246. You can also visit the Turkey Drive blog at