Donate (virtual) birds today!

Cranbrook Chamber’s Turkey Drive: a legacy of community philanthropy

The Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce 2017 Turkey Drive will culminate in a one day campaign on Thursday, December 7 with all funds raised going directly to the Salvation Army and the Cranbrook Food Bank Society.

Seven years ago, The Salvation Army came to the chamber looking for a little support, as they were short for some of their hampers that they needed for their clients. The Chamber responded by calling about a dozen people they knew they could count on and ended up raising several thousand dollars in a short period of time. Those families that were going to miss out had a hamper provided for them.

That’s the point when the Chamber and their members realized, ‘hey if we got a little bit more serious we could really make a difference,’” said David D. Hull, executive director at the Chamber.

And so that’s when the Turkey Drive began and since then it’s raised over $275,000. Their goal this year is $65,000 — all of which will be distributed equally between the Salvation Army and the Food Bank.

Hull moved here three years ago, on the Monday following the Turkey Drive Thursday and recalls feeling amazed at what had transpired and the money that was raised. Based on that he feels completely confident that they can attain this year’s goal.

“It really is amazing and it’s very heartening,” Hull said. “As someone who’s very new to Cranbrook the generosity and the care and concern of everyone for everyone in the community — it’s really quite remarkable.”

The Chamber puts together a team of pledgers they’ve dubbed “The Little Pluckers,” made up of representatives of the business community who work to collect donations through their extensive contact lists.

Former Chamber manager Karin Penner, Hull explained, is always one of their top pluckers. She chases down all the past people who were in the Sweetheart program and, $20 at a time, collects thousands of dollars from all over the world.

Individuals can donate a virtual turkey —the Chamber insists no real birds, frozen, alive or otherwise, shall be accepted — by responding to a Littler Plucker request, donating online at, by phone at (250)-426-5914 or by stopping in at the Chamber office at 2279 Cranbrook Street North. Donations are collected anytime up until and including December 8.

“It certainly is a community that comes together,” said Hull. “And unfortunately the need for hampers and assistance, it isn’t just at Christmas it certainly is year round. But at Christmas of course families who are really struggling, they try to provide a Christmas and try to provide gifts and often there isn’t enough money for food.

“So it just breaks my heart, I sit and live a good life thinking that somebody’s at home that maybe doesn’t have money for heat or enough money for food on a regular basis, much less a Christmas dinner and that empathy resonates throughout the town and that’s what really makes people come together for the various philanthropic causes around the city.”

One example of how the program has touched the lives of people in Cranbrook was included in the Chamber’s press release as follows:

“It was the 22nd of December 2012. There was a knock at the door, I answered it and no one was there. I ran over to the window to see out the front window to see who had just been there. I saw tail lights. I walked back to the door. A box wrapped around the outside with gift wrap had been left. I looked into it, there was a turkey, a hand full of potatoes, a bag of carrots, a can of corn, a can of cranberry, a pack of gravy four homemade buns and a box of stovetop stuffing. I won’t try to explain how it made me feel, I will simply say it did. It made me feel … Parts of me still wants to know who it was so I can hug them.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cranbrook Knights of Columbus donate funds to seven local organizations

City Councillor Wayne Price (centre) presents a $400 cheque to Brian Clifford… Continue reading

CBT grant helps local disc golf club improve youth access to sport

The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has announced it will be distributing a… Continue reading

Battle of youth vs experience at 2020 BC Championships in Cranbrook

Rebecca Connop Price The 2020 BC Championships in Cranbrook next week could… Continue reading

It happened this week in 1913

Jan. 19 - 25: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

You’re never too old to be Green

Cranbrook Community Theatre made boosting the green footprint of the Studio/Stage Door a priority in 2019.

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

What’s On At The Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby Novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux describes his journey as… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant killed in California helicopter crash: reports

NBA star was reportedly in his private helicopter at the time of the crash

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

Most Read