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Alvernia Turkey Drive returns for the 35th year

By Alvernia University

Alvernia Turkey Drive returns for the 35th year

Reading, Pa. – For the 35th consecutive year, Alvernia distributed holiday meals to residents in need during its Turkey Drive event held at the university’s John R. Post Center at Reading CollegeTowne.  

“It’s been 35 years that Alvernia University, under the guidance of Polly Mathys, has been providing turkeys for Reading and Berks County…it’s an honor and thrill to be here,” said Alvernia Vice President of Mission, Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Darryl C. Mace. “It’s great to have the Office of Mission and Ministry and the Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement bond together to continue this Alvernia tradition.” 

The event comes together with the help of students, faculty, staff, and community volunteers to provide donations of turkeys, grocery store gift cards, canned goods and other food items to those in need in the Reading area. Thanks to partnerships with Jaindl Farms and Redner’s Markets the University provided 400 turkeys and holiday meals to Reading residents with 50 turkeys going to Saint Margaret School.  

“I want to thank our friends at Jaindl Farms for helping us to transport and store 400 turkeys and to Redner’s Markets for donating reusable bags for this year, for storing the turkeys over the weekend and driving them over to 401 Penn St.,” said Senior Director of Mission & Ministry Jamie Caporizo. “Without your partnership, we couldn’t do what we do…. thank you to our friends at the Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement for helping us collect and store cans so we can provide Reading residents with some of the fixings for their Thanksgiving feasts.” 

The Alvernia Turkey Drive, founded in 1987, began by just feeding a few local families in need. Polly Mathys, a longtime member of the Alvernia faculty and founder of the Turkey Drive, has overseen the growth of the Alvernia tradition. The expansion over the years now involves many student volunteers, who now consider the Turkey Drive a university tradition that represents the university’s Franciscan core values.  

“I am so thrilled to see that 34 years after starting this drive that it continues. In fact, this is my third year of retirement, and the Turkey Drive persists” said Founder of the Turkey Drive, Polly Mathys. “We started with 25 Turkeys the first year and it has grown and grown since…and over the years since the start, we have given away approximately 12,000 turkeys.”