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GREEN BEANS FROM HEAVEN: Civic engagement students give back to community

Perhaps not many people are aware of an interdisciplinary minor offered through the Office of Civic Engagement at Troy University.

But, with the community involvement of the program’s students and their enthusiasm for what they are doing, the Public Service and Civic Engagement minor is sure to attract interest.

Students in the program delivered what must have seemed like a ton of green beans to the Turkeys from Heaven program at The Emporium in Troy. Turkeys from Heaven was organized by Kelly Sanders in 2014.

The first year, the local Turkeys for Heaven program provided turkeys and all the trimmings to 150 families in the local area that were going through difficult times. In 2016, that number grew to 400 and should top that in 2017.

Each Turkeys from Heaven meal includes a grilled turkey, a green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls and dessert.

Avery Livingston, coordinator of the Office of Civic Engagement at Troy University, realized that making 400-plus green bean casseroles would take a lot of green beans. And, members of the program suggested that the many cans of green beans donated during the Greeks ‘ Can Castle drive earlier in the year be donated to Turkeys from Heaven.

“The students were excited to be involved in Turkeys from Heaven, which is such a wonderful and worthwhile program and one that makes Christmas brighter for many families,” Livingston said. “The cans of beans had already been donated so we just had to load them and deliver them to the collection point.”

The Emporium is the collection point for items donated to Turkeys from Heaven, with the exception of the turkeys.

Civic Engagement students, Vera Landrum, Clay Graham, Grant Wooten and Max Herman, loaded an estimated “nearly” 600 cans of green beans in a vehicle for delivery at The Emporium. At the delivery site, they unloaded the “tons” of green beans that are destined for entry in Christmas casseroles.

“This is something that we can do for others and something that will make a difference in their lives during the holidays,” Wooten said. “We are proud to be a part of Turkeys from Heaven.”

Sanders expressed appreciation to the Civic Engagement students for their support of Turkeys from Heaven and for their interest in the community and their caring for its people.

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 also expressed appreciation to those who, in so many ways, will help make Turkey from Heaven successful in its commitment to show love and caring for others during the Christmas season.