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Vernon Rice Memorial Holiday Turkey Program

You are invited to donate $20 to purchase a holiday food basket containing a fresh turkey and vegetables from a local and free-range farm for a family in need. The baskets will be delivered directly to the families and individuals in need, as determined by St. Anthony of Padua Church, for Thanksgiving and the December holidays. 

View this short video to see the smiles and healthy meals from the 2013 holiday season.

How to Donate

To participate in the 2014 holiday season, send a $20 check or money order, made payable to:

JHU Turkey Program
Office of Work, Life and Engagement
Johns Hopkins at Eastern
1101 E. 33rd Street, Suite C100
Baltimore, MD 21218

Payment must be received by November 5 to assist families for Thanksgiving and December 5 for the December holidays.

For more information, please contact or call 443-997-7000.

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.

Thanks to your generosity, more than 6,000 pounds of food was provided to 275 families who received a food basket containing a fresh turkey and vegetables from local and free range farms for the 2012 holidays.

Updated 10/15/2014