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Islanders to host annual turkey collection for those in need

By Staff | Nov 13, 2019

A couple on Sanibel, with the assistance of some of their neighbors, will once again collect frozen turkeys and non-perishable food items to help locals in need to have a happy Thanksgiving.

Marking its fourth year, the Sanibel East End Turkey Drop and Roll will be held on Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside of the home of Henry and Sandy Peterson, at 444 Lagoon Drive. Henry Peterson, a retired Sysco employee, explained that he had worked with food banks up north helping the needy.

“It makes you feel good,” he said of donating and providing a way for others to do the same.

All of the donations will go to the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.

This year, the food bank is lending him a small refrigerated truck for the first time.

Peterson noted that the donations from the community grow every year.

“Over 700 pounds of turkeys and over 200 pounds of dry food,” he said of the 2018 numbers.

The first year, a total of 10 turkeys were collected.

Frozen turkeys are accepted, along with non-perishable items.

“We’re looking for frozen turkeys, that’s number one,” Peterson said. “Smaller turkeys work better because we can always give two of them to big families.”

Dried goods to go with the meat also are welcome.

“Canned vegetables, packaged stuffing mixes,” he said of previously donated items that have helped to create a whole holiday meal for those in need. “Instant mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce.”

While food items are preferred, checks made out to the food bank will be accepted.

“We’re not going to turn anything away,” Peterson said.

“Whatever you can do to make this holiday even a little better, to make someone happy for Thanksgiving, that’s all I care about,” he added.

First renting for a few years, the couple have been homeowners for over 20 years now.

The community is invited to stop by and donate.

“It’s a good cause and, definitely, it’s going to make you feel good,” Peterson said. “And somebody out there is going to be happy for Thanksgiving.”

For more information, contact the Petersons at 239-395-2476.