TURKEYS FROM HEAVEN: Volunteers deliver Christmas meals to families

Published 11:41 pm Monday, December 23, 2019

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Author Truman Capote would have referred to the rainy, windy, cold weather on Sunday as “Fruitcake Weather.”

But in Pike County, it was perfect weather for Turkeys from Heaven.

By midafternoon Sunday, 500 turkey dinners had been delivered to individuals and families in need throughout Pike County and into the fringes of Crenshaw and Bullock counties. At long last, those who had worked tirelessly from sunrise to grill turkeys, make casseroles and pack the food baskets had a few minutes to sit back, look back and then forward to next year.

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Kelly Sanders only smiled when asked about next year.

Sanders, who founded Pike County Turkeys for Heaven six years ago, has seen the number of turkey dinners increase from 200 to 500 thanks to the dedicated support from the community.

“My hope is for Turkeys from Heaven to continue to serve more people,” she said. “That is the goal from year to year and we have been successful in doing that because of the support from dedicated volunteers and from the community.”

Sanders expressed appreciation to all who worked to make this year’s Turkey from Heaven a success and to the community for its support.

“Today was a true miracle,” Sanders said. “Having Cattleman Park as a central location was the best move we could have made. Everything worked like clockwork. The arena was the perfect place for the men to grill turkeys. The grills were out of the rain so the men didn’t have to contend with that. They started grilling at 5:30 a.m. and the turkeys came off about10:30.”

Sanders said having the large space of the Cattlemen’s building doubled the efficiency of preparing the casseroles and packing the meals.

“At 1 p.m., people began arriving to deliver the meals and by 2:30 all the meals were delivered or being delivered,” she said. “It was a miracle.”

Taylor Jinright has been with Pike County Turkeys from Heaven from the first year and, for her, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.

“I love doing this,” Jinright said. “I believe, like Kelly, that we are called to help others and this is a way I can do that. Some people say that Turkeys from Heaven is a blessing to others but the real blessing is ours.”

Jinright said it is heartwarming to see people from different walks of life come together in an effort to make Christmas a little brighter for others.

Volunteers from the sheriff’s department, the police and fire departments and the ambulance service were there to help deliver meals.

“Turkeys from Heaven is truly a