“For Thanksgiving, we are doing a turkey dinner giveaway,” said Sharon Thomas, food drive coordinator for the Christian Love Pantry, which provides nonperishable food items to individuals and families in need in St. Clair County.
Thomas said last year, the Christian Love Pantry was able to assist 20 families with a Thanksgiving turkey meal.
“Our goal is to help 50 families this year,” she said.
Thomas said families must register for the dinners at the Christian Love Pantry, and the dinners are given away on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The Christian Love Pantry is already taking calls from people wanting to get on the list for the turkey dinners,” she said.
Thomas said the turkey dinner includes the turkey, stuffing and can of chicken stock, green beans, cranberry sauce, cake mix and icing and may include other items.
“We have received individual donations so far to help with the purchase of the turkeys, but need more donations,” she said. “We need cash donations to purchase the turkeys because the Christian Love Pantry does not have room for turkey storage.”
Thomas said individuals wishing to donate toward the purchase of turkeys should mark “turkey dinner” on the check.
“Donations of the nonperishable items in the turkey dinners are welcome,” she said. “We can also use donations of items on our regular food list.”
The Christian Love Pantry food list includes oatmeal, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, Treet (meat similar to Spam), spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, tuna fish, Tuna Helper, Vienna sausage, grits, juice, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, jelly, soup, pork and beans, mayonnaise, beef stew, corn, fruit, rice, flour, corn meal, crackers, apple sauce, and ramen noodles.
“The turkey dinners are very much looked forward to by those who receive them,” Thomas said. “The holidays can be hard.”
Thomas said the Christian Love Pantry decided to focus on Thanksgiving instead of Christmas this year.
“However, if the donations are there we will definitely consider doing a similar giveaway at Christmas,” she said.
Thomas said the Pell City High School Interact Club, in conjunction with the Pell City Rotary Club, is doing a food drive. Metro Bank also has boxes where nonperishable donations may be dropped off.
“We are always looking for people who want to host food drives,” she said. “They can call me to coordinate the food drive at 205-365-8875. The length of the food drive is whatever the host wants it to be.”
Thomas said the Christian Love Pantry has donation containers and they would be glad to bring them to the location and pick them up after the food drive.
“We would love to have the local schools involved this year, as they have done in years past,” she said. “And we appreciate the support of our local businesses as well. Publix donates baked goods, which has been a tremendous help.”
For more information or to donate, call the Christian Love Pantry at 205-338-2358. Checks may be made payable to Christian Love Pantry and mailed to 205 Edwin Holliday Place, Pell City, AL 35125.
Walter Hamlin, director of Samaritan House, which serves people with a Talladega or Alpine address, said they are also in need of donations of nonperishable food items, clothes and cash donations.
“For Thanksgiving, we will continue to give out food as we always do,” he said. “There is typically an increase of people needing assistance over the holidays, so we can use donations.”
Hamlin said the increase usually starts mid-November and continues through the Christmas holidays.
“The growth is due only to the holidays, and probably doubles the number of people we help,” he said.
For more information, call Samaritan House at 256-362-7698.
Margaret Morton, executive director of SAFE Family Services Center in Sylacauga, said SAFE helps coordinate a communitywide Thanksgiving dinner, held at Reaching the World Bible Church in Sylacauga.
“We served about 3,000 plates last year,” she said. “This is our 10th year to do the dinner. We started by serving 250 plates, and it has grown every year.”
Morton said the community — businesses, churches, individuals, service providers, schools — all assist to raise money, donate and cook the food, then plate, serve and deliver Thanksgiving meals.
“Anybody is welcome to come,” she said. “This is designed to serve people who might not otherwise have Thanksgiving dinner.”
Morton said volunteers serve meals onsite and there is carry-out and delivery available.
“If you want to volunteer, please call us by Tuesday, Nov. 26, so we can coordinate and see how many volunteers we have,” she said. “If you want carry-out or delivery meals, please call us by Nov. 26 as well, so we can arrange the delivery routes and plan for numbers. We will take calls after that, but it helps us a lot to know earlier so we can plan.”