Truck driver Dusty Craven had never seen so many turkeys—2,912 of them, to be exact, stacked in a 53-foot truck weighing in at some 39,000 lbs.
But the best part of Craven’s Friday morning delivery to Samaritan House shelter in Denver is knowing the turkeys will feed thousands of hungry men, women and families this holiday season.
“That’s the best part about it,” he said.
The turkeys traveled from Salt Lake City to Denver after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made the donation through LDS Humanitarian Aid, a charitable organization that heard of the need in the Denver area.
“We’re just thrilled to help Catholic Charities with the extraordinary work it’s doing in the community,” said LDS Stake President Russ Watterson of Aurora South. “Hopefully these turkeys will bring some cheer to those who are served.”
Catholic Charities of Denver, which operates Samaritan House, The Mission shelter in Fort Collins and Guadalupe Community Center in Greeley, approached its goal of 4,000 turkeys this year to feed shelter residents and needy families at area parishes. Last year its goal was to collect 3,000 turkeys.
“This is an unbelievable blessing that we’re receiving from the Mormon church,” said Mark Hahn, volunteer and parish relations coordinator for Catholic Charities. “We have more than 2,000 turkeys that are going into different parishes throughout northern Colorado and this will also help allow us to serve our residents at Samaritan House here and at our shelters at Fort Collins, Greeley and out at Glenwood Springs as well.”
The truckload of turkeys came less than a week before Thanksgiving when the shelter was struggling to find donations to feed the needy a warm meal during the holidays. A group of young Mormon missionaries volunteered to unload and store the turkeys in a Samaritan House freezer.
Both organizations said it is a joy to partner and show support and love for the community.
“We’re all children of God and we need to love and take care of each other,” said Latter-day Saints Counselor Kelly Wright during the turkey drop-off.
Catholic Charities shelters will accept turkey donations through Dec. 1. For more information, visit ccdenver.org/turkeydrive.