Carolina Strong: Family and friends donate thousands of turkeys to Charlotte Rescue Mission

The days before Thanksgiving are busy for the Charlotte Rescue Mission. Donations are pouring in from the community for their Thanksgiving Food Box Drive.

One of the biggest donors is Jason West and his family and friends.

“It’s a great story. My wife and I had talked about trying to get our kids into, maybe exposed to a different reality than what they had,” West said. “And one day, we’re in the kitchen watching TV and a spotlight comes on highlighting the Charlotte Rescue Mission’s Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, and they were collecting meals and turkeys. And my six-year-old daughter looked at me and said, ‘You know what? We should do that, Dad.’”

So they did.

“The next day, we went to Harris Teeter. We bought 10 turkeys, we bought 10 meals, we put them in the back of the van and we drove them up here,” West said.

That was 14 years ago. Ten turkeys have grown to 3,000!

“I went back after that day and I told my golf buddies at Providence Country Club, who are the most generous people I’ve ever met, and they were like 10? ‘We can do a lot better than that,’” West said.

And they sure have.

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“Ten years ago, we were providing 250 Thanksgiving food boxes. Last year, we provided over 6,000 Thanksgiving food boxes that fed over 24,000 people because each food box feeds a family of four,” said Tony Marciano, President and CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission.

Marciano says the goal is to reach 40,000 people. West and his network play a big part in that.

“It’s grown so much. Now their friends are involved, and their kids are involved, and it’s just kind of spiraled. It’s just very rewarding,” West said. “It’s really turned into something I’m extremely proud of, and I know they are proud of it as well.”

If you’d like to donate, the mission is holding its Thanksgiving Food Box Drive on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 624 McNinch Street. If you’re interested, email for more information.

They ask that items come packed in a new, small packing box.

Here are the items and quantities they are requesting for one box:

  • Green beans (one 38-ounce can)

  • Whole kernel corn (one 29-ounce can)

  • Cut sweet yams (one 40-ounce can)

  • Cranberry sauce (one 14-ounce can)

  • Stovetop stuffing mix (one 6-ounce box, chicken or turkey-flavored)

  • Turkey/brown gravy mix, dry (one package)

  • Boil-n-Bag rice, four counts (one 14-ounce box)

  • Graham cracker pie cruts (one 6-ounce)

  • Pie filling, apples, cherries, etc. (one 21-ounce can)

  • Frozen turkey (12–15 lbs.) or a 9-ounce frozen bone-in turkey breast

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