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Turkeys from Heaven spreads blessings

Thanksgiving is traditionally “turkey time” but in Troy and Pike County, turkeys are the talk of the town on into Christmas time.

For four years now, a “village” has been coming together in an effort to bring the spirit of Christmas into every home via Turkeys from Heaven.

In 2014, Kelly Sanders organized the local Turkeys from Heaven program in Troy. The program was modeled after the program in Dothan that was organized by a friend of hers more than a decade ago to provide Christmas dinner for individuals and families who are going through difficult times.

The first year, the local Turkeys from Heaven program provided turkeys and all the trimmings for 150 families. Each year, the number increased to 400 in 2016 and that number is expected to increase this year.

“It really does take a village to make Turkeys from Heaven a success and the outpouring of support has been overwhelming,” Sanders said. “Taylor Jinright and Charles and Janet Rawls work right along with me in getting everything organized and underway. We have a village of volunteers that are eager and excited to be a part of helping provide Christmas meals for families throughout the county and beyond.”

The first opportunity for the community to be involved in the local Turkeys from Heaven program is to purchase turkeys for the food baskets.

Four hundred-plus turkeys are needed and purchasing a turkey is easy and convenient.

“The turkeys may be purchased at either of the Piggly Wiggly Troy locations for $15 each,” Sanders said. “The turkeys are kept at the grocery markets until we are ready to put them on the grills on December 22.”

This year, gift cards are available at the Piggly Wiggly locations and turkeys may be purchased in honor of family members or friends who would appreciate knowing they were helping provide Christmas dinner for a family in need.

“Those who are interested in the gift cards may request a card at the checkout,” Sanders said.

If more turkeys are purchased than are needed, the additional funds will be used to assist with the purchase the other food items, including casserole items, cranberry sauce and rolls.

“The casseroles will be assembled on December 22, which is the date of delivery for the Christmas meals,” Sanders said. “The only food items to be donated are the non-refrigerated desserts including cakes, pies, cookies and candies.

Rawls said about 20 grills will be needed on the December 22 and about 100 men to man the grills.

“We all get together to cook the turkeys and a lot of the men also help with the delivery of the Christmas dinners,” he said.

People of all ages are encouraged to be a part of Turkeys from Heaven.

“We need volunteers throughout the day on December 22,” Jinright said. “In addition to cooks for the turkeys, we need people to put the casseroles together, to pack the food boxes and about a dozen other things. Volunteers don’t have to stay all day. The amount of time depends on each individual. We want to invite everyone to be involved in the Turkeys from Heaven program. For more information or to volunteer, call 334-770-0428.