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TURKEYS FROM HEAVEN: Organizers: Help needed now, more than ever

Even with so many annual 2020 events being canceled due to the coronavirus, Kelly Sanders didn’t think twice about cancelling Turkeys from Heaven, the annual communitywide Christmas effort to make sure families in need have a bountiful Christmas dinner.

“This has been a hard year with so many people losing their jobs and being shut in, so regardless of COVID-19, it is more important than ever that we have Turkeys from Heaven,” Sanders said. “So, we are moving forward with plans to prepare and deliver 600 meals again this year. However, things will look different in 2020.”

For the past six years, community members have come together to make casseroles and grill turkeys and, at homes around town, desserts have been prepared to top off the 500 or more Christmas dinners.

“But this year, instead of coming together to make the casseroles, we are going to package the ingredients for the casseroles along with the cooking directions,” Sanders said. “Also, to limit exposure, we are asking for pre-packaged desserts rather than home prepared desserts.”

Even in the midst of a pandemic, Sanders said she is hearing greater excitement about the opportunity to make Christmas brighter for about families in and around Pike County.

There are several ways to participate in Turkeys from Heaven 2020. Donating a turkey may be done at both Piggly Wiggly stores in Troy.  “Tell the cashier at either the 231 or North Three Notch locations that you would like to purchase a turkey for Turkeys from Heaven,” Sanders said. “The cashiers have a barcode for that. The turkeys will be kept at the stores to be delivered for grilling.”

Those who would prefer to purchase a turkey by phone may do so by calling either Piggly Wiggly store, the 231 location at 770-7444 or the North Three Notch location at 566-0127.

Monetary donations to Turkeys from Heaven 2020 may be mailed to 3311 Highway 29 South, Troy 36079 or via Pay Pal on the Turkeys from Heaven Troy Facebook page.

Those who would like to participate on delivery day, December 22, are invited to do so.

Grilling of the turkeys will begin at 8 a.m. on December 22, at Cattleman Park with delivery beginning around 10 a.m. and continuing throughout the day until all of the dinners have been delivered. Volunteers to assist with the grilling are asked to call Charles Rawls at 334-372-1907.

Set up for the packaging of the meals will be on December 21 at Cattleman Park. Desserts for the dinners will be accepted throughout the day.

Sanders said all who participate in Turkeys from Heaven 2020 are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing in order to protect themselves and others.

Turkeys from Heaven meals are planned and referrals are being taken from churches, organizations and schools for families or individuals who would benefit from a Christmas meal. The number to call is 334-372-4576 or email troytfh@gmail.com.

“Christmas is always a special time of year and 2020 is no different,” Sanders said. “Even though it has been a difficult year, there is still much to be thankful for. Turkeys from Heaven is a blessing for those who receive and also for those who give. It’s a Christmas blessing.”