A lot more Yukoners will be able to have Thanksgiving dinner thanks to volunteers who distributed 1,440 turkeys across the territory.
"Just in time for Thanksgiving, it looks like everyone is going to get a turkey," said Dave Blottner, executive director of the Whitehorse Food Bank Society. But distributing the 30-pound birds was a feat. Blottner said the food bank didn't have enough storage space for the 1,440 turkeys so volunteers moved them all in a single day, "It was a lot of turkeys," he said.
The turkeys were part of the federal government's surplus food fund, a $50-million program to redirect surplus food products to vulnerable people during the pandemic. About 10 per cent of the food was set to go to Northern communities.
The turkeys were shipped from Ontario and "spread far and wide across the territory," said Blottner, including to Haines Junction, Watson Lake, Whitehorse and Carmacks.
"People were... equal parts wowed and very thankful," he said.
"Things like a Thanksgiving dinner seemed like a luxury to a lot of people this year."
Carrots and potatoes were also donated.
The surplus food program will be sending meat to the Yukon each month until the end of January, Blottner said. He expects chickens to arrive in November.
Blottner said the Whitehorse food bank has expanded its focus across the Yukon during the pandemic.
Yukon's chief medical officer Dr. Brendan Hanley has asked people to follow COVID-19 guidelines this Thanksgiving. He suggests celebrating within your social bubble, using a large, well-ventilated space, and keeping music quiet so people don't need to shout or talk loudly.