PHOENIX — U-Haul Team Members donated 600 turkeys on Tuesday to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, some of which will make it to needy Arizona families in time for Thanksgiving dinner while others will be handed out to the less fortunate during the busy Christmas season.
The donation, packaged as 9,000 pounds of scrumptious meat, was the product of U-Haul carrying on its decades-long tradition of rewarding full-time Team Members with a large Thanksgiving bird two days prior to the holiday.
Hundreds of U-Haul Team Members then turned around and donated their turkeys to St. Mary’s, which gives boxes full of Thanksgiving dinner staples to those who come asking for assistance. The organization also provides to hundreds of distributaries in the Valley and throughout the state.
“I just want to help people,” Trenton Fields of the U-Haul software development team said. “Donating this turkey seems like the best way. U-Haul giving away turkeys gives us the opportunity to give to those who need them.”
Regina Kasica, a recent addition to the U-Haul digital design group, added: “I donated it because I already have two turkeys to go to on Thanksgiving. Someone can use that turkey better than I can. … Look how many (turkey redemption certificates) are in the donation jar already. It’s half full! That’s fantastic. A lot of families will be happy.”
St. Mary’s director of media relations Jerry Brown and corporate giving officer Kerri Cole expressed their gratitude upon receiving the truckload of donated turkeys at the Food Bank’s main warehouse at 2831 N. 31st Ave. in Phoenix.
St. Mary’s, a longstanding charitable partner of U-Haul International, is the nation’s first food bank and one of its largest with a strong commitment to fighting hunger in Arizona.
“It was so wonderful to see a giant truck roll up to our warehouse with 600 turkeys from U-Haul!” Cole exclaimed. “These turkeys are being sorted with our other holiday meal items as we speak for distribution to our clients. The donation will also help us feed families for the Christmas holiday. I can’t tell you how much this means to our staff and to the hundreds of families who will have a brighter holiday due to your generosity.”
The many U-Haul Team Members who will prepare their birds for family and friends were equally appreciative of the Company’s enthusiasm for spreading holiday cheer … and satisfying appetites.
“We’re actually going to save this bird until Christmas, and then we’re going to brine it and barbecue it – low and slow,” Rachel Schmidt of the U-Haul storage department said. “My whole family comes over to my place.”
“I’m going to give it to my brother-in-law, and he does this thing where it’s bacon-woven on top of the turkey while he roasts it, and they’re going to use it for their Thanksgiving,” Emily Haydukovich of U-Haul storage said. “He’s a chef.”
“Maybe we should go over to Emily’s house,” Schmidt quickly responded.
Trevor Wise of U-Haul rates and distribution said his in-laws are coming to town for Thanksgiving, and he’s handing the turkey over to his wife’s mother to cook.
“This is something I look forward to every year,” Wise said. “When I started with the Company, I was very surprised. That’s a lot of turkeys distributed. I’m certainly thankful to U-Haul for the giveaway.”
The generosity of U-Haul and its Team Members didn’t stop with the 600 turkeys to St. Mary’s. Little Sisters of the Poor, stationed in Gallup, N.M., received 100 donated turkeys from U-Haul.