‘Such a blessing’

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Groups give away more than 1,500 turkeys

Two longstanding events to provide Thanksgiving blessings for city residents continued Saturday with the giveaway of more than 1,500 turkeys and other fixings.

The more than 40 churches that make up Suffolk United Inc. gave away more than 500 turkeys, along with canned goods and other items in the parking lot of Lake Meade Park, preparing baskets to put in people’s vehicles as they drove through.

LeOtis Williams’ LW’s Lawn Service and MWM Investment and Property Management held its 20th turkey giveaway, providing turkeys to 1,000 families at Williams’ business on Old East Pinner Street.

Long lines of vehicles were at both locations to get a turkey and fixings, with many of them telling volunteers how much they appreciated what they received.

“You all are such a blessing,” one woman shouted to them before driving away.

But volunteers said they, too, were blessed to be in a position to provide to others.

“It’s a blessing to be able to do that, it really is,” said Ervin Holley of Metropolitan Baptist Church. “This is why we come out here. This is what we’re supposed to do. This is what God wants us to do, so we’re doing God’s will.”

David Johnson of True Word Temple of Faith Ministries, enjoys the fellowship among the volunteers from the different churches, but also feels called to serve and to help others.

“It touches me deeply to be able to help someone,” Johnson said. “Anytime you can put a smile or joy into somebody’s life, it’s heartfelt. There’s joy when you can do something like that.”
Randy Carter, who attended both turkey giveaways, said he appreciated the efforts of everyone involved.

“This is probably what makes us a great city,” Carter said, “because we reach out to other people and look out for one another.”

Carter, at the Suffolk United Inc. event, praised Bishop A.S. Hall Sr. for marshalling the community together for a good cause.

“I’m just grateful that all the churches and businesses came together to give everyone a happy Thanksgiving,” Hall said. “And we will be out here next year the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and it’s going to be bigger and better.”

Garry Outlaw, who has been a volunteer at Williams’ turkey giveaway for 11 years, was one of 168 volunteers who turned out to distribute the turkeys, collards and other fixings.

“I appreciate being able to help out,” Outlaw said.

Williams’ only regret was that he didn’t have more turkeys to give away. Normally, he gives away about 2,000 turkeys, but he said his supplier could only provide 1,000. Still, he felt fortunate that it could still provide the amount they had, and he was thankful for the volunteers who helped.

“I’m just so overwhelmed,” Williams said. “I just want to continue to be a blessing to the community. And it’s needed.”