Kindness of strangers: Social media post turns into unofficial turkey drive for Edmonton woman

Robert MacLellan loved to make special holiday meals, and cooked a turkey every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

He died from cancer in August, and his wife, Leanne Allred, was left to deal with the stress of the pandemic and her grief at the same time.

Earlier this month, while going through the freezer, she saw the turkey they were supposed to share for Christmas. 

“I said, ‘Wow, it’s so sad that he can’t be here to make the turkey this year,’ ” she said. 

“My husband is probably the most giving person that I know. He’s so generous to his family and friends, he always donates to good causes. I thought, you know, he would want me to give this to someone who could use it.”

She made a post in an Edmonton Facebook group explaining her Christmas situation and said she had a turkey and boxes of stuffing to give away. The post prompted almost 600 comments within a couple of days. 

Many were well-wishes and condolences.

“The response I got was really overwhelming,” Allred said. “Everybody was so kind. Everybody’s going through a lot, I found out. There were a lot of people also posting that they had had losses this year.”

She ended up finding a family in need to give her turkey to, but there were others asking for help at the end of a tough year.

Dwayne Christensen stepped in to organize the transfer of more turkeys, and some money as well. He said he was happy to see the outpouring of support but sad to see so many people in need of help. 

“I guess I just [have] a soft spot,” he said. “Seeing all these people desperate in this time just tugs at your heartstrings.

“If I can make somebody’s Christmas, that’s a bonus.”

Allred said she was in awe watching it all unfold. 

“I just looked up,” she said, “and I was like, to my husband, ‘This is exactly what you would have wanted.’ “

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