Drew Desjardins pulls a turkey out of a freezer Thursday afternoon at his business, Mr. Drew and his His Animals Too in the Lewiston Mall on East Avenue in Lewiston. He is teaming up with Kaydenz Kitchen to help those in need during the holiday season. Russ Dillingham photo/Sun Journal

LEWISTON —  Mr. Drew and His Animals Too is partnering with Kaydenz Kitchen to collect at least 50 turkeys to be given to local families in need. It is the first year in what Drew Desjardins hopes to be a yearly event.

On Saturday, people are expected to drop off turkeys to Mr. Drew’s new office at 20 East Ave., along with items to make side dishes, owner Desjardins said. He was looking for a way to honor the 18 victims of last month’s mass shooting and had originally planned to donate 18 turkeys to local families but he soon realized the overwhelming need for holiday food in the community.

Though planning has been chaotic this year, he expects the operation to run more smooth next year, he said.

He recently moved his reptile and animal rehabilitation center to a new location and with that move he is also looking for more ways to give back and support the community.

“I’m at a point in time in my life I can give back, you know,” he said. “I’ve been through tough times and I like to say that we’re always one day away from being homeless or one day away from being unemployed, our lives can change dramatically. Right now I’m at a good point in my life so I can do something for those in need.”

There are totes full of nonperishable foods, along with bag of potatoes, boxes of cereal and cooking materials piled up at the rehabilitation center. The donations will be disbursed to families through Kaydenz Kitchen, but anyone can drop off donations to the rehabilitation center Saturday, he said.


Seventy families have received commitments for turkeys from the two organizations and they are formulating a standby list of families in need, according to Kaydenz Kitchen founder Kevin Boilard. They have received a commitment from donors for 92 turkeys but they will not know exactly how many they will collect Saturday.

“It shows the demand and need and how many families are struggling with the current challenges we face in our society. It’s a great opportunity and it just shows how much we can raise the bar next year,” he said.

Donors can drop turkeys of between 10 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the rehabilitation center. Families will pick up donations from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Any extra turkeys and thanksgiving supplies will be handed out to those on the standby list from 1-2 p.m. They are also hosting a raffle in which donors can win six admission tickets to the rehabilitation center.

Drew Desjardins crouches behind his display of dry goods Thursday afternoon that he is helping collect for a turkey drive at his business, Mr. Drew and his His Animals Too in the Lewiston Mall on East Avenue in Lewiston. He is teaming up with Kaydenz Kitchen to help those in need during the upcoming holiday season. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

For The Root Celler in Lewiston, it is its 12th year hosting a turkey basket delivery, according to Executive Director Joel Furrow. On Saturday, 60 to 70 volunteers will gather at The Root Cellar at 89 Birch St. to pass out laundry baskets with Thanksgiving dinner ingredients. The organization serves more than 100 families every year.

Some families will skip holiday meals because they cannot afford to buy food so the organization tries to serve those pockets of people who are not close to a food pantry, he said. There are not many stipulations on who is eligible to receive a Thanksgiving basket but there is a signup process and families need to be able to commit to receiving the baskets.

Furrow thinks the giveaway is a good opportunity to get to know another family “and love on them during the holidays,” he said.


Some organizations holding community meals on or for Thanksgiving. Among them is Trinity Jubilee Center, which hosts its Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday, Nov. 22, from 11-11:30 a.m. at 247 Bates St. It needs donated rolls and pies, according to Executive Director Erin Reed.

Many of the Jubilee Center’s clients are homeless or elderly and do not have family to celebrate with, and the holidays can be a difficult time for them, she said. She wants her clients to know they are important to her, “for now, we’re their family, so we’re going to make a feast for them.”

To donate or contact the Trinity Jubilee Center, email info@trinityjubileecenter.org.

Those in need of a Thanksgiving meal or turkey can contact kaydenzkitchen@gmail.com or send a message through its Facebook page.

The Root Cellar is still adding families in need to its signup list until Friday. For more information visit therootcellar.org/turkey. For those looking to donate a Thanksgiving basket, they are also asked to visit the organization’s website.

The St. Mary’s Nutrition Center Food Pantry at 208 Bates St. in Lewiston is giving out Thanksgiving meal sides during its regular pantry hours Nov. 21 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The food pantry is open to anyone in need.

A Thanksgiving dinner is planned on Thanksgiving Day at Kennedy Park in Lewiston hosted by Maine Community Integration from 1-4 p.m.

Hope Haven Gospel Mission at 209 Lincoln St. is also planning a Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is also offering to deliver meals to elderly and disabled residents in Lewiston and Auburn only. It is still in need of turkey, stuffing, gravy and green beans, and volunteers. For more information call 207-783-6086.

Comments are not available on this story.