Volunteer Keith Brown hands out frozen turkeys at LeOtis Williams’ food giveaway last year. Williams is continuing his tradition of giving out food to people in need this Thanksgiving.
Volunteer Keith Brown hands out frozen turkeys at LeOtis Williams’ food giveaway last year. Williams is continuing his tradition of giving out food to people in need this Thanksgiving.

Food giveaways set

Published 10:15pm Thursday, November 14, 2013

Two food giveaways on the Saturday before Thanksgiving will continue multiple-year traditions of helping the needy on the holiday.

Impact Suffolk, a coalition of churches and faith-based organizations, and business owner LeOtis Williams will hold separate giveaways that morning. The Impact Suffolk one is open to anyone in need, while Williams’ giveaway is available only to those who have been given vouchers in advance.

However, volunteers are welcome at both giveaways to help hand out the food.

This is the 15th year for the Impact Suffolk giveaway, president Okpun Langley said. It will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. behind the Farm Fresh at 1401 N. Main St.

However, unlike in previous years, there will be a strong evangelism component to the event, which usually serves about 900 families, Langley said.

“For several years we just gave away food and didn’t do much evangelism,” she said. “But this year, we have a strong evangelism team that will be out there if anybody needs prayer or would like to hear the word of God.”

Langley said evangelism is the primary goal of Impact Suffolk.

People line up to receive food at last year’s Impact Suffolk food giveaway. The organization says this year’s event will feature a stronger evangelism component than in years past.
People line up to receive food at last year’s Impact Suffolk food giveaway. The organization says this year’s event will feature a stronger evangelism component than in years past.

“Giving away food is a really nice thing, but if we don’t evangelize, it doesn’t mean anything,” Langley said. “They might have food, but they go away empty spiritually.”

Langley said the event also helps the 40 or so churches and faith organizations, most of which would not have the capability individually to do such an outreach project.

“It’s giving the church an opportunity to come out and serve the community,” she said.

The event is first-come, first-served, and churches will hand out corn, green beans, stuffing, peas, sweet potatoes, collards and other miscellaneous items.

A limited supply of meat is also available.

Langley said sponsors of the event through in-kind goods and services include QVC, Smuckers, Massimo Zanetti, AmeriGas, Food Lion and the city of Suffolk.

Across town at LeOtis Williams’ lawn service warehouse on Old East Pinner Street, the businessman and a legion of volunteers will give away 2,000 turkeys, along with 150 bushels of collards, 100 bushels of cabbage and 150 bushels of sweet potatoes.

He sent vouchers to churches, civic leagues and other organizations to hand out to people in need. Those who hold vouchers will get food from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and leftovers, if any, will be available for the general public beginning at 1:30 p.m.

This is the 10th year of Williams’ food giveaway, which he started in honor of his mother, Marvis Milteer, who inspired her children to serve the community.

“I feel as if no man, woman or child should have to go to bed hungry,” Williams said. “I decided I wanted to make a difference.”

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