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In The News

   

Interview with 6ABC News

   

Tons of Turkeys in the spotlight.

As seen in the Daily Local News, Thursday, October 29, 2009

By Justin McAneny, Staff Writer

"We should get a bunch of turkeys." It sounds like the beginning to a bad practical joke or the words uttered during the planning of a large holiday meal. But they weren't. Those words, said by Rick Warther, were a statement of goodwill. The turkeys were going to be donated.

Around this time last year, the Warthers, including Rick, his wife, Francie, and their two daughters, Katie and Natalie, were sitting around their dining room table, just talking, when that now famous phrase, "we should get some turkeys," was uttered. So they did, but not just a few to donate to Philabundance, but a truck's worth — almost a ton of turkeys. With those words and almost a ton of turkeys (100 turkeys totaling 1,800 pounds to be exact), an idea was born — a nonprofit organization to raise food to be donated to Philabundance during the holidays — www.tonsofturkeys.org.

Philabundance, based in Philadelphia, is the Delaware Valley's largest hunger relief organization, according to its Web site, www.philabundance.org. The organization, founded in 1984, provides food through a network of agencies throughout the region that include food cupboards, shelters and residential programs, neighborhood distribution centers and many, many other organizations that help the hungry and malnourished. And they rely on donations.

So last year, the Warthers, who are from East Goshen, decided to donate. After some research online, you can't just go to the grocery store and buy close to a ton of turkeys, they found a turkey farm in Orefield, which is a bit north of Allentown, rented a truck and took off on the two-hour trip. "All I got was complaints about the band music (during the ride)," Rick said. Radio stations in that area that Rick, Katie and Natalie actually could agree upon were few and far between.

With the truck full, they headed to Philadelphia.

And when they arrived, they got quite a reaction. Philabundance staff members, according to Katie, said, "'Wait, you did this on your own?'" The staff members just assumed they were with an organization, Francie said. "I was surprised that they could handle this many (turkeys at once)," Katie said. "But they did."

"It was a wonderful surprise," said Martha Buccino, chief development officer for Philabundance. "They're a wonderful family."

On average, Buccino explained, Philabundance receives donations of 10 or 12 turkeys at a time from companies, let alone from that many private families. "Nothing compares to the degree they've done."

For their work, both Katie and Natalie were honored by Philabundance and received the Harvester of Hope Award in recognition of those individuals or organizations that help fight hunger throughout the Delaware Valley. Natalie accepted the award on behalf of her and her sister. Katie was in Spain at the time.

The average total of turkeys collected is between 4,000 and 5,000. Those turkeys are then given to local agencies that administer them to families across the region. "The turkey is symbolic of the holiday season," she said. "We never have a turkey that goes to waste."

The Warthers have decided to donate again this year. "Initially, it was a once-and-done deal," Natalie said. "But we felt good about donating and it went from there."

So, last August, the family began talking about this year's donation. That's where the idea for starting the nonprofit, Tons of Turkeys, came from.

The family's experiences — Rick's in the corporate world (which helped with asking for corporate donations), Francie's in the world of nonprofits, Katie's being a junior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and completing an internship at a nonprofit in Phila

delphia, and Natalie, a junior at Westtown School and the writer of the family — all came together knowing they had what it takes to make an idea like this work.

Now, through direct mail lists, approaching corporations, school fundraisers and just good old word of mouth, the Warthers want to see Tons of Turkeys grow and help feed those in need.

"Send us a check and help us put turkeys on people's plates," Rick said. Because in the future the family would like to see the turkeys delivered in tractor-trailers -- not U-Hauls. You have to "think big, think lots of turkeys," he said.

Both the Warthers and Philabundance are looking to the future together. Buccino sees the relationship possibly becoming very hands-on for the family, getting to the point where they'll see the turkeys from purchase point through delivery, possibly knowing where the turkeys ended up.

"I see it as a very rewarding experience for them and us," Buccino said.

-- To learn more about Tons of Turkeys or to make a donation, visit www.tonsofturkeys.org.

-- To contact staff writer Justin McAneny, send an e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit his blog at www3.allaroundphilly.com/blogs/dailylocal/justinm/blog.html

 

 

Published: Sunday, December 14, 2008

Turkeys donated to Philabundance

Katie, left, John and Natalie Warther of West Chester donated 100 turkeys to Philabundance during its annual Turkey Round-Up on Nov. 15.

Each turkey weighed about 18 pounds -- which means the family donated almost one ton of turkeys to the Philadelphia-based organization which provides food to more than 600 hunger relief organizations in the region.

   

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Our Mission

Tons of Turkeys' mission is to provide turkeys for thousands of local families and enrich their family Thanksgiving with a traditional turkey dinner.

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Thanksgiving is an important American tradition that we believe everyone should have the opportunity to take part in, regardless of financial resources.

Our family is very blessed, and we’ve realized the best way to show how truly thankful we are is to share the spirit of Thanksgiving.

In return, we are all instilled with a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, knowing how many people we’ve helped and encouraged.