Omaha Catholic Charities hosts 19th annual Turkey Day food giveaway


OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Lines wrapped around the Catholic Charities Juan Diego Center Monday morning for their 19th annual Turkey Day. The center gave away turkeys and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving Day meal.

Quentina Ellison is busy loading up Thanksgiving meals for those in need. A couple of years ago, she wasn’t helping out; she was receiving food at the Juan Diego Center.

“A little over two years ago, we lost our income,” Ellison said. “I’m a stay-at-home mom and my husband lost his job and we needed the food at the time. We would come to the pantry every day, just to put food on the table, and once we got to the point where we didn’t need the food, I wanted to give back.”

Ellison volunteers here a couple of times a week. She said she’s seeing a lot of new faces looking for help.

“Inflation is tough for everybody, for people coming through the line here to receive food,” she said. “Inflation is even tough on Catholic Charities, we’re not having as much food donated.”

Catholic Charities officials say they serve more than 250,000 people every year through food pantries alone. They say money gets tight this time of year with back-to-back holidays.

“They want to have gifts for their kids or they want to have a Thanksgiving meal, but if they’ve got to pay the bills with the heat or electricity and other issues, there’s not enough money to make ends meet,” said Dave Vankat, Catholic Charities chief community engagement officer.

Ellison knows what that feels like — she’s been there and hopes seeing all the need makes everyone understand what Thanksgiving is truly about.

“For people that don’t see this, it’s going to humble you because there are so many people that are in need,” she said. “I love being able to bring a smile to somebody’s face because I put that box of food in their car.”

Donate or sign up to volunteer with Catholic Charities of Omaha here.

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