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Covenant House holds ‘Fish Drive’ to collect food for Indigenous Peoples’ Day feast

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:24 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - When Covenant House Alaska put out a call for salmon and berries, the community responded in a big way. The shelter for homeless youth is planning a dinner for up to 200 young people and staff members on Indigenous Peoples’ Day and is accepting food donations from the community.

“We wanted something that was special, traditional,” said staff member Holly Lee.

Lee was helping people unload fish from their vehicles on Wednesday at a tent set up in the Covenant House parking lot. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is coming up on Oct. 11.

Development Director Joe Hemphill explained that the shelter held a similar meal last year but it was offsite and outdoors. He said COVID-19 also put the brakes on accepting food from the community.

“Overnight we went from regular drop-offs of soups and other types of food items, including frozen fish fillets, to none of that being allowed to come through the doors,” he said.

This year donations are back on and the event will be held inside the shelter. Outreach worker Tavai Holt said the meal takes on a special meaning for Native youth, who can make up around 50% of the young people they serve and who may be missing a connection with their culture.

“It reminds them of that support and that love that they used to have when they were young that they don’t have right now,” she said. “So it’s really neat that we are able to do this.”

The shelter is still accepting donations of berries and fish but they ask people to call the office first at (907) 272-1255 before they bring food in.

The Covenant House website also has a list of ongoing needs, as well as different ways that people can help.

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