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Local business hosting Thanksgiving meal drive

New Age Media and Supportive Expressions will accept donations through Nov. 20

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Alisha Johnson, of New Age Media Productions, poses near the donation boxes for the business’ fifth annual Thanksgiving meal drive. Johnson is asking for donations of Thanksgiving meal items like turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing and other fixins at the New Age Media Productions location at 1026 Central Ave., or at Supportive Expressions, 1210 Central Ave., between now and Nov. 20.

Stores may look like a winter wonderland and Christmas jingles may be filling TV commercials already, but one local business is hoping to bring more attention to the holiday to be thankful and to encourage community members to help out their friends and neighbors who may be struggling this holiday season.

New Age Media Productions is hosting its fifth annual Thanksgiving meal drive, inviting local community members to donate items for Thanksgiving dinners like turkeys, hams, potatoes, stuffing and other fixings.

“We started it the same year we opened our business,” said owner Alisha Johnson. “We wanted to give some families who were less fortunate a hand up instead of a hand out.”

Johnson said she focuses on families who may be too shy or too proud to ask for help or go to a local food pantry. Sometimes, she said, those families are struggling, but feel like somebody else could use the help more than they could.

“There was at least one year that we were less fortunate and we had to throw in a pizza because that was a lot cheaper than preparing a whole Thanksgiving meal,” she said. “And those are the kinds of families that we’re looking to help.”

In its first year, New Age Media Production’s food drive was able to help 17 families, but last year, they only received enough donations to help seven local families in Fort Dodge and the surrounding communities.

Because of the added financial stress COVID-19 has caused many families this year, Johnson is hoping to receive more donations in order to help more families in Fort Dodge and surrounding communities.

“We know there are probably some families that have lost their jobs because of COVID or they’ve had a family member that has been in the hospital, so they’ve lost some income, but they’re not out there saying they need help,” she said. “We would greatly appreciate any donations.”

This year, Johnson has partnered with Supportive Expressions to add a second donation site for the meal drive.

“I just thought maybe this year, with us not having as much luck last year, just partnering with another group that I’ve seen help some other families here in town, I thought we could get a little more reach with partnering with somebody.”

Johnson finds out about the families she helps with these donations mostly through word-of-mouth and from others nominating families.

“Last year we had a family, they had a house fire and I had just seen it on Facebook because one of my other friends had posted about helping them,” she said.

A few years ago, a friend of a friend had a premature baby who had been in the hospital for many months and had just come home, so she chose to help them, too.

To nominate or suggest a family to help, call Johnson at 515-227-5448.

Donors can drop off donations at New Age Media Productions, 1026 Central Ave., or at Supportive Expressions, 1210 Central Ave. Donations are being accepted now through Nov. 20.

How to help

Food donations to prepare Thanksgiving meals for families needing help are being accepted at New Age Media Productions, 1026 Central Ave., and Supportive Expressions, 1210 Central Ave.

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