WINGS & A PRAYER: Turkeys from Heaven program to provide more than 150 people in need with Christmas dinners
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, December 23, 2014
She believes, if given the chance, people will open their hearts to others.
Over the years, Sanders has witnessed the giving and caring spirit of people through the Turkeys from Heaven movement, which provides a holiday meal for the sick, shut-ins and families in need.
Sanders’ friend, Rebecca Marsella, started the Turkeys from Heaven project in Dothan 14 years ago and knew the people of Troy have that same kind of spirit and would appreciate the opportunity to be a blessing to others at Christmastime.
So, Sanders presented the idea of having a similar project in Troy to Taylor Jinright and Janet Rawls. Her friends didn’t have to give the idea a second thought before jumping onboard with Sanders.
“From the beginning, we knew it was something we wanted to do and believed the people of our community would be supportive of,” Sanders said.
And, they were right. Community support for Turkeys from Heaven was overwhelming this year.
With the planning and preparation for Turkeys for Heaven done, a host of volunteers came together Monday at The Emporium to cook Christmas meals for more than 150 families in need.
The men smoked the turkeys. The ladies made the green bean casseroles and donated the homemade desserts. Teenagers helped where needed and kids had colored the bags for the rolls and cranberry sauce. The bread bags were tagged with a biblical verse: “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Sanders said the scripture was appropriate for the Turkeys from Heaven movement and was acknowledgement of the One from whom all gifts come.
“Our community came together for Turkeys from Heaven in a tremendous way, and we appreciate each person who contributed to its success,” Sanders said. “Today had great meaning for all of us and hopefully it was a blessing to all of those who received the meals.
“Through Turkeys from Heaven, we realized that people are eager to help when the project is worthwhile. They want to know they are needed and then they want to be physically involved.”
Involvement came in many different ways this year. From monetary donations to meal planning and preparation, to the delivery of the meals and, of course, to the cleanup there was someone there to help.
“Our mission was for the community to come together in the spirit of Christmas to help those in need,” Sanders said.
The Turkeys from Heaven team contacted churches, schools, home health organizations, Hospice, Sav-a-Life, Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center, Department of Human Resources and East Central Mental Health to compile a list of those who would benefit from the delivery of a Christmas meal.
“When we started calling those on the list to tell them about Turkeys from Heaven, many of them were so appreciative that they began to cry,” Sanders said. “I think it meant just that much to all of us.”
Plans are already on the drawing board for next Christmas, Sanders said.
“The goal is to double what we did this year,” Sanders said. “Turkeys from Heaven will hopefully be a part of Christmas in Pike County for years to come.”