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Vernon Rice Memorial Holiday Turkey Program

The 2016 Memorial Holiday Turkey Drive has concluded. Thank you to everyone who submitted a donation!

About Vernon Rice

Beginning in 1976, at the end of his shift as a maintenance mechanic for the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus vehicle fleet, Vernon Rice stopped by St. Anthony of Padua Church to pick up five to fifteen messages from people in the community who needed food, prescriptions filled, financial assistance to prevent evictions and utility shut-offs, or counseling. In 1993, after personally visiting hundreds of families each year, Vernon Rice decided to find a way to provide holiday dinners to families in difficult economic circumstances. He felt sure that Hopkins employees would be willing to donate food to those in need.

Meeting with Judy Peregoff, then director of the Johns Hopkins Human Resource Office of Faculty, Staff, and Retiree Programs (FSRP), the two developed a plan to provide Butterball Turkey gift certificates to families. The certificates, good for a turkey or other food items, would be distributed in time for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. Peregoff's office would solicit donations and administer the program while Rice would provide a list of families in need.

Mr. Rice passed away on December 2, 2001. His son, Sam Rice, and HVAC technician at Hopkins, and other family members helped the former Faculty, Staff and Retiree Program maintain the partnership with church staff so that families in need received food during the holidays.

Mr. Rice worked for Hopkins for eighteen years and in 1995 received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Community Service. A record 85 gift certificates were delivered the year Mr. Rice died.

Updated 12/9/2016