TURKEYS FROM HEAVEN: Volunteers give away meals for Christmas

Published 4:26 pm Monday, December 24, 2018

When the Josie Moonshine Queen comes out of the hollows and a couple from upstate New York sits down with color crayons, that’s a strong indication that people from all walks of life realize the importance of Turkeys from Heaven.

On Saturday, people of all ages and from all walks of life came together to make Christmas a little brighter for those less fortunate.

Turkeys from Heaven, which was founded by Kelly Sanders four years ago, has become a Christmas tradition of giving for many people in Troy and throughout Pike County. Each year, the number of Christmas dinners delivered to individuals and families who might otherwise not be so fortunate has increased. This year more than 400 dinners including a grilled turkey, green bean casserole, bread and dessert, were delivered by community volunteers from kids and teens to grandparents and members of local law enforcement and the Troy Fire Department.

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But, even as the sun was coming up on Saturday, Kelly Sanders was a little nervous.

“I was praying in the shower,” Sanders said, with a smile. “I was worried that, with Christmas on Tuesday there would be lot of weekend family events, and shopping, too. And, the Troy Trojans were playing in the Dollar General Bowl in Mobil. So, I was praying.”

But, when the day dawned, the volunteers were there. Even before 5 a.m., men arrived at “the cooking place” with big grills and, a short four hours later, the turkeys were a golden brown and ready to be delivered to The Emporium, where they would be box with the dinners and ready for delivery.

“I need not have worried,” Sanders said. “Pike County people are giving people. We had many new faces among those who have been volunteering for several years. Everything ran so smooth. I know now that we will be able to grow. We will be able to reach out to more people in need, all because the people of Pike County do care.”

The number of young people who were involved is another indication that Turkeys from Heaven will continue to be a Christmas tradition in Troy and Pike County.

Iris Byrd of Goshen, a first-time volunteer, wanted to be a part of something that does so much good. She brought her visiting grandchildren along. And, not only did they come, they understood why they were there.

“We’re here to help people in need,” Katlyn Gibson said. Her brother, Ray, said he was proud to get to do something ‘good like this at Christmas.”

Carla Rice is a seasoned volunteer and, like Sanders, she said things ran almost like clockwork.

“It’s good to see people of all ages volunteering their time to do for others and everyone is in such good spirits – the Christmas spirit,” she said. This is what Christmas is all about.”

Snowbirds Keith and Debra Alexander from Watertown, New York, read about Turkeys from Heaven in The Messenger and decided they would like to be a part of something that makes a difference in the lives of others.

“We are staying at Deer Run RV Park and we enjoy being in Pike County,” Alexander said. “It’s amazing to see so many people volunteering their time and having a good time doing it. Debra and I are coloring Turkeys from Heaven pictures to go on the delivery bags. We are proud to do our part.”

Alexander has been a volunteer fire fighter in New York and his wife has been a member of the ladies’ auxiliary.

“Volunteering is in our blood,” he said. “We’re glad to be part of Turkeys from Heaven.”

Sanders expressed appreciation to all who have been a part of making Turkeys from Heaven 2018 such a great success. There are too many to name, she said, from those who purchased turkeys, to those who work behind the scenes to those who open bean cans, grill turkeys and make deliveries.

Every person is the most important person, she said. “Thank you all!”