Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and for many in Wrangell this means heading to the stores to get stocked up on ingredients for that turkey dinner or favorite pie recipe. But for some families, an entire holiday meal is not in the budget. That’s where Bonnie and Don Roher come in.

“We start generally on the first of November. We phone each individual on the list to find out if they are better off this year than last year and this year the community is looking up,” he says.

That’s Don Roher. He and his wife Bonnie have been volunteering for 8-years to make sure everyone has something to eat during the holidays. This year they’ve organized Thanksgiving Turkey dinner baskets.

“We call it a basket, but it’s actually a grocery bag, with a complete turkey dinner.” That’s Bonnie Roher. She, Don, and a group of volunteers have been busy for weeks working to coordinate with the local grocery stores, sorting through donations and calculating how much each family will need for their turkey dinner. Baskets are organized by family size, offering enough food for families of 1-3, 4-6, 7-over. So far Bonnie says they’ve collected over $4,000 worth of food and supplies. So what exactly is in the bag? “Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie mix, olives, bread rolls, the complete dinner,” she says.

Last year, Bonnie and Don supplied 92-families with turkey dinners. This year they are down to 66-families, which totals to about 264 people. Don says it’s a good sign that numbers are down, but he says times are still tough financially for many in the community and he says he’s glad to help out any way he can.

“What comes to mind is one time I carried a basket out for a lady and she broke down and cried. I went back inside shaken. Then carried a basket out for another lady, she broke down and cried and broke down and cried with her,” he says.

Bonnie and Don say this could not be done without the support of the community, which include the churches, clubs, grocery stores, fire department, as well as an array of volunteers and donators.

“I just want everyone out there to know they are loved and that we care about them, that Wrangell cares about them, and that the community care about them, and just have a great holiday,” she says.

Turkey dinner baskets can be picked up Friday, November 18th at the Harbor Lights Assembly of God Church between 2 PM to 6 PM.

Along with holiday dinner baskets, The Wrangell Salvation Army welcomes the public to a community dinner located at Jerry Hall Thanksgiving Day. Anyone who needs a turkey dinner basket or would like to volunteer can contact Bonnie and Don Roher at 907-305-0319.
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