Community joins forces for Thanksgiving food drive

Faith & Family

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IDAHO FALLS – Giving back to the community is what Thanksgiving is all about for one Idaho Falls woman.

Kelli Marshall is the organizer of the Turkey Box. Every year, she works many hours organizing a food drive that provides Thanksgiving meals for families in need.

Families and friends of different faiths come together the Monday before Thanksgiving to donate food items for a Thanksgiving meal.

“I have five different LDS wards that help. Idaho Falls High School, Eagle Rock (Middle School) and five other elementary schools put boxes together,” Marshall tells “I think that’s such an ecumenical thing because (food) comes from schools, it comes from churches, and it just comes from so many people who want to help.”

Here is how it works–families who need a little help for Thanksgiving this year call to reserve a box of food. They drive through the alley behind St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and get food for the holiday.

“A family will come up and tell our receptionist what they need and how many boxes and turkey’s they’d like,” says Jaxon Sorenson, a member of the Idaho Falls Tigers Basketball Team. “We all get together and grab what they’d like and go set it in their trucks or cars.”

Freshman from the Idaho Falls Highschool Basketball team have helped with Turkey Boxes since 2014 | Natalia Hepworth,

For the young basketball players who have volunteered for the last three years, packing turkey boxes into cars provides friendly competition.

“It’s a great opportunity to come and serve and help these people,” says Idaho Falls Tigers player Dylan Seeley.

“Everyone should have a good Thanksgiving no matter what their circumstances (are), and Kelli, she helps with that,” 11-year-old volunteer Kate Rodel says.

As of Monday afternoon, the church had seen almost 100 people. The group expects at least 200 more by the end of the day.

Marshall says about 350 families benefit from the food drive every year.

“Because of the donations that were given, I’m able to give some extra cash to each box this year. It all works out,” Marshall says. “I think one of the reasons it’s so successful is because people need food, and food is easy to buy and share with others. It’s like breaking bread for everybody.”

She says families who need some extra help with Thanksgiving this year can stop at the church tonight from 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is located at 270 N. Placer Ave., near the Museum of Idaho.