Thousands receive Thanksgiving dinnersPublished 8:38pm Saturday, November 20, 2010
With Thanksgiving around the corner, several community organizations joined forces to ensure no family in the community goes without a Thanksgiving meal this week.
At least two community efforts were under way on Saturday as Impact Suffolk and business owner Leotis Williams handed out thousands of turkeys, chickens, canned goods and fresh vegetables.
“This is what community is all about,” said Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson as she looked around L.W.’s Lawn Care and MWM Investments, where Williams was running his operation. “These community efforts is what all about Suffolk taking care of each other. We might be a big city, but we’re still a small town.”
Williams, who owns the lawn care and investment businesses, handed out 2,000 turkeys, 80 bushels of fresh collard greens, 80 bushels of fresh cabbage and 60 bushels of yams.
“Seven years ago, when I first started this, I was able to purchase and hand out 75 turkeys,” Williams said. “Last year, we handed out 1,000. I said this year I’d hand out 1,500 and decided to make it 2,000. My goal is really just to make a difference. Especially with the economy being the way it is, I just want to be able to help provide to those who need it.”
Williams purchases the turkeys from Sam’s Club with proceeds from his businesses.
He expended $28,000 to provide the meals this year.
The Suffolk Booster Club was also on site grilling hot dogs for people to eat while they waited in line.
Earlier that morning, hundreds of people formed a line at the Howard Mast Tennis Courts to receive meals from Impact Suffolk and its network of churches.
“Everything has gone beautifully this morning,” said Dot Dalton, director of Impact Suffolk. “People have been here since 6 a.m., and it’s just good to be able to bless the city in this way and bless those who are in need.”
Several area churches had purchased or collected canned goods and non-perishable items for people to complete their holiday meals with.
Food available included green beans, corn, peas, sweet potatoes, stuffing, rice, mixed vegetables, bread and coffee, as well as a limited number of chickens.
At each station, attendees received another part of their holiday meal. By the time they reached the end of the line, many had a difficult time seeing over the boxes of food in their arms.
Liberty Baptist Church had also set up a station near the exit to give away clothes.
The operation has been going since 1997, “and it just keeps growing every year,” Dalton said. “As long as there’s a need, we’ll be here.”