Volunteers Help Food Bank Brighten Fairbanks on Thanksgiving

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Every year, the community joins together to help those in need for Thanksgiving - and this year was no exception.
Amanda Brennan gives us a look at the Fairbanks Community Food Bank on one of its busiest days.

Anne Weaver; CEO - Fairbanks Community Food Bank>>"They were gone. 175 food boxes out in North Pole were gone in a half an hour period."

Fairbanks Community Food Bank CEO, Anne Weaver is at the helm during its most active time of year. For the past few months, local businesses, schools, and residents have held food drives collecting tens of thousands of pounds of food, specifically for Thanksgiving. Starting the Monday before the big holiday, volunteer groups from local unions, Ft. Knox, the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, and others, start packing boxes for distribution. On Wednesday, it was Monroe Catholic School and Rotary Club of Fairbanks' turn to pack the boxes. Rotarians worked three shifts on Wednesday, starting at 8 in the morning, and handed over a $5,000 check to Weaver prior to the third shift. Rotarian and Monroe alum, Brandi Husband comments on her experience volunteering.

Brandi Husband; Volunteer>> "We're a part of a great community. To see this continue on year after year, and to see the food bank grow, it melts my heart. It makes me proud to be a Fairbanksan."

While volunteers filled boxes, the rest of the warehouse was bustling with forklifts, dollies and more volunteers loading a truck to take the next load to First Presbyterian Church for distribution.

Anne Weaver; CEO - Fairbanks Community Food Bank>>"Right now we are going to First Presbyterian Church. It is about 1:30 in the afternoon, and we're going to see what the line is like on that end, and we're going meet Jim, who is probably putting that side together. "

Downtown on 7th Avenue at the First Presbyterian Church, people lined up to collect the food kits. Men and women of all ages, as well as children, did whatever they could to do get to the church. One woman with a walker slowly pushed her box and turkey along in the snow before her son picked her up. Using the church as a separate location from the food bank is a conscious decision, making the logistics of delivering thousands of pounds of food less challenging.

Jim Williams; first Presbyterian Site Coordinator>>"We take care of the distribution part. It is too much to do, if we take the whole thing together it is too much to do at the Food Bank, so we split the logistics out, and it's a lot more efficient."

The Food Bank has been giving food to people the day before Thanksgiving for more than 30 years. As of 4 PM on Wednesday, 2,043 boxes of food were delivered, which equates to 77,375 pounds of food. Seeing firsthand the result of all the food donated, gathered, and then delivered, made even the strongest willed people take pause.

Anne Weaver; CEO - Fairbanks Community Food Bank>>"There's one of our food boxes. Walking by, right there. So he just walked from 7th Avenue and we're at 18th, and he's still heading home. He's walking home with it. So...that's just super, super cool. Umm...sorry, you don't see that every day. That caused me to pause."

Amanda Brennan reporting.