People put food in a reusable bag

Credit: Jim Burger for Johns Hopkins University


Vernon Rice Turkey Program supports 300 Baltimore families

The program, now in its 46th year, provides turkeys and produce boxes for the Thanksgiving holiday

Through the Vernon Rice Turkey Program, now in its 46th year, Johns Hopkins employees provided support to 300 families this year in the form of Thanksgiving meals.

Video credit: Roy Henry / Johns Hopkins University

Hopkins employees contributed $5,755 in donations to the program, which went toward the purchase of 200 turkeys, 100 chickens, and 300 produce boxes that were distributed on Friday, Nov. 18. In addition to the employee support, Hungry Harvest donated 300 reusable bags for the distribution and Coca-Cola donated more than 300 bags of items. The Johns Hopkins Office of Economic Development and Community Partnerships team and several external volunteers distributed the meals to families at Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church.

The program began with the generosity of Vernon Rice in 1976—Rice picked up requests for help from members of the church following his shifts as a maintenance mechanic at Hopkins, providing support in the form of food, prescription payments, and utility bill coverage. In 1993, Rice turned to the university for help meeting the demand.

Since 2018, the program has served more than 1,100 families, distributing more than 2,200 turkeys and produce boxes to residents in the community around Saint Anthony of Padua Church in Northeast Baltimore.

Donations are still being collected until Sunday, Dec. 11, for the program to support the church's food pantry.