GOING STRONG: Turkeys from Heaven exceeds goal

Published 4:00 am Thursday, December 27, 2018

On Saturday, Pike County Turkeys from Heaven volunteers prepared and delivered 430 turkey dinners throughout the area to individuals and families that would benefit from a holiday meal.

For the fourth year, “Turkeys from Heaven,” which was founded by Kelly Sanders of Troy, exceeded the target number of Christmas meals for delivery,” said Pamela Parker, a member of the Pike County Turkeys from Heaven planning committee.

“We want to have a few more turkeys available than the number on the delivery list,” Parker said. “Sometimes we’ll hear about someone that’s not on the list. We don’t want any known needs to go unmet.”

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Parker is a member of the “Turkeys from Heaven command post,” so to speak. She maps the routes for those who deliver the Christmas meals throughout Pike County and to other areas including Glenwood, Luverne, Brantley, Grady, Ariton and Highland Home.

“Turkeys from Heaven” referrals come from DHA, churches, schools, charitable organizations and Hospice,” Parker said. “What I do is apart from the actual delivery of the meals but the volunteers say how much the meals are appreciated and how much it means to them to have the opportunity to be a part of Turkeys from Heaven.”

Carla Rice is a four-year volunteer with Turkeys from Heaven and, for her, being a part of something so wonderful is a Christmas blessing, just as it is to other volunteers.

“You hear so many stories about what Turkeys from Heaven means to those that receive the meals and how it affects those that deliver the meals,” she said. “Volunteers that delivered at a trailer park on Saturday couldn’t forget the excitement of the little children that ran to meet them.  So, they returned, first with candy and later with a few simple toys for the children that probably were not on Santa’s list.”

When calling a home to alert one Christmas meal recipient, a little girl answered in a soft, polite voice, Rice said.

When the volunteers arrived at the house, the mother and her little daughter met them at the door.

“I told the mom how sweet her little girl was on the telephone,” Rice said. “Then, I told the little girl I was sure Santa would be good to her. The little girl looked at her mom as if she was surprised at the mention of Santa’s name.”

Rice said it was an almost pleading look.

People react in different way to the volunteers. Sometimes they shout for joy, as did a lady with several foster children. “Thank, you! Thank, you! Jesus has answered my prayers!”

“She was so thankful,” Rice said. “So appreciative. But it’s the expression on that little girl’s face that I can’t forget. It keeps popping into my mind. Maybe I read more into it than was there.”

Those who volunteer with Turkeys from Heaven will probably never know what the Christmas meals mean to those who receive them.  But they know what it means to them, individually.

“Turkeys from Heaven is what Christmas is all about,” Rice said. “It’s about giving to others; about caring for others.”

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas a Christmas tradition of giving was started in his department this year.

“We had four deputies that delivered Turkeys for Heaven meals this year,” he said. “They were glad be a part of doing for others, a part of reaching out in the community. Officers from the Troy and Brundidge police departments and the Troy Fire Department also delivered meals.

“We all volunteered because it was a way to give back to the community and a way to help those that work behind the scenes to do something so good for those in need here at home,” Thomas said. “I plan for us to make this an annual event and the others probably will, too. We all want to serve our community, to reach out to the community and provide a serve to others.”