By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Rescue Mission has a long history of collecting and distributing turkeys and all the holiday fixings at Thanksgiving. This year, the need is greater than ever.

“More and more we’re seeing people who maybe were doing well before COVID-19 hit, and now because of the pandemic are on the verge of homelessness,” said Nicole Tschetter, the PR & Media Specialist at the Denver Rescue Mission. “So the Turkey Drive this year is more important than ever because there is a bigger need in the community for people who just really need that extra piece of hope and dignity to celebrate the holiday.”

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The Mission is asking for donations of frozen turkeys, weighing 12 pounds or more.

“We are asking the community to really rally behind us and collect 15,000 turkeys. And I know when I say that number people are like, ’15,000, that’s so many.’ But I like to think of those 15,000 turkeys as 15,000 stories…15,000 different people who just really need our help right now. So the community can help each of those individuals by just providing a turkey,” Tschetter explains.

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Each family will get a frozen turkey and a Thanksgiving Banquet in a Box, which includes canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned pumpkin, canned cranberry, canned yams, boxed stuffing, gravy and boxed mashed potatoes.

“For a lot of the guests who stay with us, and for a lot of the individuals who are in our programs, they often tell me that it is really that warm meal, and coming into the Mission for that warm meal is really the first time they felt that sense of hope. And be that at Thanksgiving, or the middle of January, or a random Tuesday, a warm meal can be a world of a difference for those who are experiencing homelessness,” Tschetter told CBS4.

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There are four ways to donate to the Denver Rescue Mission’s Turkey Drive:

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Turkey Drop-off Locations:
Ministry Outreach Center (39th & Holly) 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday
The Crossing (Smith Road & Holly) 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Lawrence Street Shelter (Park Avenue West & Lawrence Street) 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Denver Broncos Turkey Donation site (UC Health Training Center) Saturday, Nov. 21 only, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Donate Now – Donate money by texting “TURKEY” to 24365. $15 to $20 is roughly the equivalent of one turkey.

Start a Fundraiser – New for 2020, you can start your own peer-to-peer turkey drive fundraiser. This page walks through all the steps on how you can make an even bigger impact.

Spread the Word – Share important information about the Turkey Drive virtually with your own community using Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with #GetGobbled.

“I think far too often, we have misconceptions and stereotypes about people who are experiencing homelessness, or about people who are on the verge of homelessness. When the community takes a step back and gets involved with supporting people across the board. They start to see their stories, and they start to understand that this turkey really can make a difference,” Tschetter added.

The Denver Rescue Mission’s Turkey Drive runs through Nov. 25, 2020.

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LINKS: Denver Rescue Mission | 2020 Turkey Drive

Libby Smith