More than 300 volunteers will prepare, pack and deliver more than 1,000 turkey dinners in Spalding, Pike, Upson, Butts and Lamar counties.
The meals are delivered to senior citizens, soup kitchens, sick people and shut-ins, as well as the homeless. Of the 1,000 turkey dinners, organizers estimate 250 meals will be delivered to “needy families” in Spalding and the surrounding counties.
St. John Lutheran Church Thanksgiving dinner delivery coordinator Jay Beverage said there has been an increase in the delivery to needy families.
“More than 50 homes will receive multiple orders of five or more dinners delivered. This year we have so many families in need and we are working to meet the need,” Beverage said.
The recipients were carefully selected by various social services agencies and civic organizations. The process of holding a Thanksgiving Day delivery service event began by sending out letters in September.
Organizers sent letters to nursing homes, hospice facilities, the Department of Family and Children Services, various housing authorities and other agencies. Follow-up letters were sent out in October and preparation began on Nov. 3.
Several churches are involved in the delivery, including Sacred Heart Catholic Church, St. George’s Episcopal Church, First United Methodist Church, Eagles Way Church, Mount Gilead Baptist Church and First Christian Church, along with students of Grace Academy and St. George’s Episcopal School.
According to Beverage, the church has collected more than $2,000, along with numerous canned goods for the holiday meal.
St. John Lutheran Church has been serving and delivering Thanksgiving dinners since 1982. At that time, volunteers served and delivered 25 meals to the needy.
Beverage said she has been involved in the annual holiday dinner event for 22 years.
“We see the need to feed people who otherwise would not have a Thanksgiving dinner,” she said. “This is what the church should be doing, reaching out and taking care of people. It gives me fulfillment to do this and every year we have the same volunteers and other newcomers join us in reaching out and serving.”
“We get just as much enjoyment out of serving the meals as those receiving the meals,” she added.
The Thanksgiving dinner delivery begins at 9 a.m. Volunteers on Wednesday prepared by receiving and organizing all the menu items. Beverage said donations are used to purchase turkeys, spices and fresh fruit. The other side dishes are donated. All of the cookies, pies, cakes and breads are baked from scratch.
Organizers and volunteers will meet at the church at 6:30 a.m. today and form an assembly line of duties to be carried out until every dinner is delivered at about noon.
“We heat it, pack it and send it out,” Beverage said.