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Campus & Community

Drexel Celebrates 45 Years of Annual Turkey Project

December 19, 2018

Drexel alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends helped distribute the turkeys and side dishes on the Univesity City Campus on Dec. 13.
Drexel alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends helped distribute the turkeys and side dishes on the Univesity City Campus on Dec. 13.

Drexel University’s longest-running alumni tradition, Drexel Alumni’s Alumni Turkey Project, celebrated 45 years this year by continuing to provide a holiday turkey to local families. This year, the tradition was expanded to include a bag of donated side dish components with every turkey for the first time since the event was started in 1973.

The Alumni Turkey Project distributed the ingredients for holiday meals to 1,800 families in need by way of 40 community-based organizations, including Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships and the University’s Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center. With the help of the Drexel Fund, over $56,000 was raised to purchase turkeys and canned goods — well above the goal of raising $45,000.

“The Turkey Project is, in some ways, a reflection of the overall Drexel ethos,” said Chair of the Alumni Board of Governors David Kaganovsky ’95. “It is in our DNA to be practical, engage the community, roll up our sleeves and get things done. And the annual Turkey Project gives us that opportunity to affect change in our community through our money, our time or a combination of both. It is a wonderful tradition that brings together so many great people.”

Members from the community organizations came to Drexel’s University City Campus during the morning of Dec. 13 to pick up their goods, which were distributed by 105 volunteers made up of Drexel alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the University. These Drexel Dragons donned Drexel hats and scarves to haul boxes of turkeys and bags of food items into the cars of community organizers and families.

In addition to 1,800 turkeys, Drexel Alumni donated items such as macaroni and cheese, string beans, potatoes and other canned goods. Ultimately, a total of over 4,000 non-perishable items were donated.

Fred W. Ulmer, Jr. ’57, PhD, has volunteered at Drexel’s Alumni Turkey Project for 27 years — well over half of its existence. After retiring as a school principal, the Drexel Hall of Fame football player and wrestler and business major has been volunteering at the University for over two decades (he works at Drexel Athletics every Monday) to give back to his alma mater and the West Philadelphia community.

“It’s really great to be able to give those items out to the people who need them,” he said. “And for me, it’s nice to see people and they come up to me and say ‘Hey, you’re still here!’”

Click here to check out Drexel Alumni's Flickr photo album of the Dec. 13 event.

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