The Chestatee Community Outreach Group hosted their ninth annual Thanksgiving turkey drive from Nov. 18 to Nov. 24, raising two carloads of food and $4,745 in cash for the RIC-Rack food pantry in Dawson County.
According to Hugh Holley, a coordinator of the turkey drive, cash donations allowed RIC-Rack to give turkeys and sides to over 240 local families this Thanksgiving.
Holley said that the drive started nine years ago when a group in the neighborhood started collecting turkeys and hams for families in the community. Since then the drive has grown drastically, but this year things looked a little different, he said.
“Typically in the past we had RIC-Rack bring their refrigerated truck out so we could accept the turkeys or hams on specific days, but this year we couldn’t do that due to COVID,” Holley said. “So we had five families who worked it this year, and we had drop off locations in the neighborhood to make donations.”
Holley said he and other committee members designed and printed flyers to distribute in the neighborhood, and that while the number of turkey and ham donated was lower than in past years, the cash they received was much higher.
“Last year we got a little less than $2,800 but we did get 55 turkeys, so it was just a little bit of a different program this year,” Holley said. “I would have thought we’d have gotten a fourth of what we did this year, but people seemed to be aware of the need in the community.”
Holley said that for the amount of work he and the other committee members put into the drive, it always proves to be just as rewarding for them as it is for the families who receive food from the drive.
“It’s a fun little thing and just makes you feel better to be honest with you,” Holley said. “It just sort of uplifts you to know you’ve done what you can do to help.”