Turkeypalooza to prepare hundreds of meals for those in need

Wake Forest University students and staff are getting ready for an annual holiday tradition that gives back to the community. Turkeypalooza will take place from Sunday, Nov. 13 – Saturday, Nov. 19.

This student-led event prepares 600 Thanksgiving meals for residents in Forsyth County facing food insecurity.

It coincides with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. According to Feeding America’s most recent Map the Meal Gap report, 13% of Forsyth County residents struggle with food insecurity, while that rate is 20.4% for children.

The Thanksgiving meals will consist of turkey, roasted vegetable stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole.

“Everything is scratch made by students, so students are making the food that will be delivered into the community,” said Cazandra Rebollar, assistant director of civic engagement. “Faculty and staff volunteers also help bake pumpkin cookies.”

The meals will be delivered to local nonprofits in Forsyth County. The organizations that will distribute them include, Samaritan Ministries, The Ronald McDonald House, The Shalom Project and Latino Community Services.

“A lot of the community partners that we are working with through Campus Kitchen and through Turkeypalooza are serving food insecure clients,” said Rebollar. “The mission of Campus Kitchen is to support the community partners that are already doing this kind of work. Students are the heart of Turkeypalooza . It’s really an event where if we don’t have the students there, it can’t happen.”

Wake Forest students launched a fundraising campaign to help make all this possible.

“We are buying baking supplies and other products and ingredients from local farmers and vendors,” said Ana Huckins, a graduate assistant focused on food insecurity and food justice work. “Wake Forest’s Campus Garden is also providing vegetables for the meals. We will use 200 pounds of sweet potatoes for Turkeypalooza – all grown in the campus garden that students also helped harvest.”

Turkeypalooza is Campus Kitchen’s largest annual event.

Campus Kitchen is one of the University’s premier sustainability initiatives; rescuing and recovering food from local grocery stores and the campus dining halls that would otherwise go to waste and using it to fight hunger and poverty in the greater Winston-Salem area. 

“It’s the 16th year for Turkeypalooza and tradition is a big part of it. It’s a time when a lot of groups on campus come together to organize, donate and work together for a common goal of helping alleviate hunger in the community. For me that’s part of the magic.” Ana Huckins, a WFU graduate assistant

Wake Forest’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement will offer programming to bring greater awareness and education about food insecurity in the Winston-Salem area.

Media Note: Video and interview opportunities for Turkeypalooza are available on Tuesday, Nov. 15 – Thursday, Nov. 17 from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. at the Harvest Table Catering Kitchen on 3730 University Parkway.  Tuesday is the largest cooking day – 130 meals will be prepared. Contact Keri Brown, 336-758-4442 or C: 336-971-5402, or media@wfu.edu.

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