TIME TO SHARE: ‘Turkeys from Heaven’ volunteers rally to feed 300 families
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015
When a community comes together at Christmastime to do something really good for others, then, maybe, it’s as the Grinch said. “What if Christmas doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas … perhaps …means a little bit more!”
The Troy community came together in large numbers Tuesday in a way that demonstrated that Christmas does mean a little bit more.
For the second year, the collective Troy community prepared Christmas meals for the benefit of families and individuals around in and Pike County.
Before sunrise Tuesday, a brigade of grill masters fired up 21 “smokers” to cook 300 turkeys to be delivered at noon to families in Troy and Pike and Crenshaw counties. In the kitchen at The Emporium, women were making green bean casseroles and others were bringing homemade desserts through the door. Young people were coloring the delivery bags and others were packing the bags. Drivers were getting their delivery lists and, in the background, there was humming of the songs of the season.
“All of us here are more blessed than we deserve,” said Taylor Jinright, who helps plan and organize the annual project. “We are blessed to have this opportunity to give back to our community.”
Wayne Bolt said he appreciates the opportunity to do for others and it’s heartening to see so many of his buddies involved.
“It’s Troy out here,” he said. “This is a community effort and this is what Christmas is all about – doing for others.”
“Turkeys from Heaven” originated with Kelly Sanders of Troy. She spearheads the project each year but is quick to say that it is a community effort that was inspired by a friend in Dothan who leads the Wiregrass “Turkeys from Heaven project. Hundreds of people contribute to Turkeys from Heaven in Troy but no one is counting.
“This isn’t about us,” Sanders said. “It’s about others.”
And, to a one, those involved said Turkeys from Heaven is an opportunity to “give back” at Christmas time. And it’s also an opportunity for young people to be involved.
“I want my kids to know how good it feels to do something for someone else,” said Amanda Challancin. “I want them to do like Jesus said and serve others.”
Nicklaus Chryssom said doing for others does generate a warm feeling.
“As young people, Turkeys from Heaven makes us aware that there are others that don’t have the things we have and it makes us more caring about others and more grateful for what we have.”
Gratitude was the word that Dr. John Crosby chose to describe the response he received when delivering “Turkeys from Heaven” meals to those less fortunate.
“They say ‘thank you’ and there is a sense of gratitude that comes through,” Crosby said. “The people are truly thankful. They are sincere in their gratitude. And, for me, this today, is what Christmas is all about. This is the spirit of Christmas.”
Kelly Sanders said last year’s “Turkeys from Heaven” project provided about 180 meals for families in Troy and Pike County.
“The response was so encouraging that we decided to provide 300 meals this year,” she said.
“Everyone has been so supportive and so giving. Hopefully, next year we’ll do even more because there are many families that could benefit from a Christmas meal. We might not be able to provide meals for all those in need but we can try.”