Turkey Traister Drive

Sometime before Halloween, Kevin Traister, Bell’s director of human resources, starts reaching out to business contacts asking them to provide contributions for a special fund. It started in 2012, when he thought to himself that he could do more for the Bell programs during the holidays. He came up with the idea to hold his own Turkey Traister Drive to give back.

“It was a fun thing I decided to do in order to give back to the [Bell] programs. It was a challenge to myself to assist with the holiday needs,” Kevin said. He explained that he makes the asks early so “people have time to send a check, donate online, or less commonly donate an actual turkey.”

Not only do his business contacts donate, his family, friends, and coworkers also get in on the fun. “My mom gives at least one or two every year and coworkers (past and present) contribute as well,” he shared.

When Kevin started the fund, his yearly goal was to get a total of 20 turkeys. As the years went on, he bumped it up to 25, and for the last three or four years, he set the bar even higher at 30 turkeys.

Every year, pre-COVID, the Mental Health department holds a large Thanksgiving Dinner for service users and their families and staff and their families. Half of the turkeys from the fund are sent to that annual dinner.

Bell Family Shelter receives about five turkeys for their dinners and another five turkeys are sent to the Intellectual Disabilities Social Recreation program for their evening dinner. The remaining turkeys are distributed to program group homes. This year all of the turkeys will be served at smaller dinners, securing a distinguished place on the tables of various program properties.

“During the holidays we are always looking for donations of some sort, whether it be the Traister Turkey Fund or providing a general donation,” Kevin said. Those general donations are extremely helpful so that “we can utilize them to help out with whatever needs we have at the time, like sheets, towels, bus passes, or medication co-pays.”

Kevin enjoys spreading comfort and joy in his own unique way, and employees who work near his office always get a smile when they hear his special turkey call whenever he receives notification of another donation to the fund.

Want to be on the Turkey Traister Drive list for 2021? Contact Kevin at ktraister@bellsocialization.com.