alumni turkey project

Alumni Turkey Project Goes National

Drexel’s longest-running alumni tradition provides holiday turkeys and sides throughout the Philadelphia area and raises funds to support Drexel’s university-run student food pantry, Mario’s Market. Last year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, support from alumni, students and other members of the Drexel community made it possible for Drexel to feed more people than ever.

“I feel truly blessed to know that I will receive a holiday meal,” says Joyce Perkins, a resident of Philadelphia who has been a Turkey Project recipient for more than 10 years. “I am a senior citizen living on a fixed income and it’s very hard to make ends meet. I thank the donors and volunteers from the bottom of my heart for their selfless acts of kindness.”

As fundraising for the Turkey Project reaches new heights each year, it is expanding for 2021 to provide more than 1,500 turkeys and sides to residents in the Philadelphia, Orange County, California, and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas.

Alumni in the Southern California and Northern Texas regions will also have opportunities to volunteer at nearby community organizations to help pack boxes of food, stock and organize shelves and more.

“We are thrilled to expand the Alumni Turkey Project’s reach this year, as the issue of food insecurity is not unique to the Philadelphia region,” says Lauren Villanueva ’04, ’09, assistant vice president of Alumni Relations. “In partnership with alumni volunteer leaders Jeff Lisinicchia ’90 (an emeritus member of the Alumni Board of Governors in California) and Patrick Williams ’04 (an elected director of the Alumni Board of Governors in Texas), we’ve been able to identify additional communities where we can make a difference this holiday season.”

Alumni in the Philadelphia area have even more ways to get involved this year. For example, they can volunteer to attend packing days at Sharing Excess, a nonprofit founded by Evan Ehlers ’19 that partners with grocery stores, restaurants, farmers and universities to deliver food surplus to a network of organizations that fight food insecurity. Volunteers will work together at Sharing Excess to organize and pack sides to accompany the turkeys given out at the Philadelphia Distribution Day event.

“The Turkey Project is an impactful and beautiful tradition for Drexel University, alumni and the local community,” says Corina Lam ’10, chair of the Alumni Board of Governors. “As the Project continues to grow in 2021, it allows us to help more people. This is extremely exciting and gratifying.”


With this year’s expansion, there are now more ways than ever to support the Alumni Turkey Project. Here’s how you can be part of this Drexel tradition of giving back.


Every gift toward our $55,000 fundraising goal will help make holiday meals possible. Your support will directly benefit those who need it this holiday season; a gift of $35 will provide an entire meal.


Join us for Addressing Hunger and Food Insecurity Among College Students, a virtual panel discussion on Dec. 15, 2021. Experts will talk about the factors that perpetuate the challenges of hunger and food insecurity among college students as well as innovative strategies that universities like Drexel are implementing to combat these national issues.


Philadelphia: New this year, Sharing Excess Packing Days will be held on Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, 2021, where volunteers will organize and pack bags of side dishes to accompany the turkeys. At our annual Distribution Day on Dec. 18, volunteers will hand out turkeys to community organizations on campus and see firsthand the joy that a holiday meal can bring. Come to Distribution Day ready to lift heavy boxes!
California and Texas: At our service projects at Orange Country Family Assistance Ministries on Dec. 4 and the North Texas Food Bank on Dec. 11, 2021, volunteers will pack boxes of food, stock and organize shelves and more.

For nearly half a century, the Alumni Turkey Project has partnered with community organizations to help alleviate the burden of hunger and food insecurity during the holiday season. This year, its impact will reach beyond Philadelphia to communities in California and Texas.