Turkeys find homes for the holidays through donations to nonprofits

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Have you ever seen a frozen turkey fly?

They flew swiftly off the back of a truck outside the old Farmers Market behind the Greenwood Civic Center on Wednesday as the Neil “Gobbler” Cost (Greenwood) Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation distributed 100 turkeys among eight area nonprofits.

The NWTF chapter has donated turkeys for the past 19 years to help address food insecurity in Greenwood.

In just nine minutes, all the turkeys found homes Wednesday.

“There are a lot of us in this town who are really blessed, and there are a lot of us in this town who are not so blessed,” said Dennis Waters, who helped organize the donation efforts for the Greenwood chapter of the NWTF. “Thanksgiving is a time for families. We want to feed as many as we can.”

This year puts the chapter at more than 28,000 pounds of turkeys donated since the start of the program 19 years ago.

Organizations receiving donations were the Food Bank of Greenwood County, The Salvation Army, Meg’s House, Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries, Greenwood Place, Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, Pathway House and Faith Home.

NWTF supporters purchased fundraiser tickets and attended banquets to help the organization give back to the community.

“This year has been really tough with the pandemic outbreak, but we were able to come up with the funds to purchase the turkeys and keep the tradition going,” Waters said.

Meg’s House, which provides domestic violence services, had representatives pick up 17 turkeys.

Trina Lomax, with Meg’s House, said the transitional housing program will use the donations for women fleeing domestic violence.

“This is going to be fabulous,” Lomax said. “A lot of them coming into the program, they don’t have anything. Doing this is that little bit of extra to help them.”

James Howle, with Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries, picked up 10 turkeys, one for each of the cottages on the Greenwood campus.

“It’s a godsend,” Howle said. “Over the years, people have blessed Connie Maxwell in many ways, and this is one of those ways. If you go in the grocery store nowadays and try to buy a turkey, it’s almost double or triple (the cost) of what it was maybe three years ago.”

Andrea White, with the Foodbank of Greenwood County, picked up 19 turkeys. White said her organization will identify needy families and senior citizens they see on a regular basis.

“It means a lot because we see a lot of needy families in the community that are needing turkeys,” White said. “The cost of turkeys has risen drastically in the last month. So, to be able to provide them with a turkey, to spend time with their families, means so much to them. I’m so thankful to the Wild Turkey Federation for doing this.”

Christ Padgett, with Greenwood Pathway House, said the homeless shelter has more than 40 people currently living at the facilities. He picked up 10 turkeys.

“The last two or three years, we’ve been getting lots of turkeys,” Padgett said. “This year, we’ve only gotten two; so, this is a big thing for all the guys and gals. They’ll have a good Thanksgiving and a wonderful time of celebration.”

Earl Warren, with Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, received six turkeys.

“We’ve got some needy families we are going to give them to,” Warren said. “We usually do 200 to 300 dinners, but, because of COVID, we’re just giving the turkeys to needy families. It means a lot. We’ll be able to help some people. We enjoy doing it.”