Over the past two weekends, residents of Chestatee neighborhood in Dawson County have been hard at work collecting turkeys, non-perishable food items and monetary donations for The Place of Dawson County to help with the nonprofit’s Thanksgiving boxes that will be distributed to those in need of a little extra help with their holiday meal.
The turkey drive lasted from Nov. 1 through Nov. 12, and during this time Chestatee residents collected a grand total of 85 turkeys, 503 pounds of non-perishable food and $3,840 in monetary donations.
During the drive, several residents throughout the neighborhood set up boxes on their porches to collect canned goods and other non-perishable food items. The Place came out to the neighborhood on Saturday Nov. 5 and Saturday Nov. 12 with a refrigerator truck, and neighbors came by in golf carts, in cars and on foot to drop off turkeys, checks and other donations.
According to Amy Palmer, outreach coordinator for The Place of Dawson County, the donations collected during the drive will go to make Thanksgiving boxes for food pantry clients to pick up for the holiday.
“The clients for the food pantry will get a Thanksgiving box that has non-perishables, a turkey and then a $25 grocery store gift card to get the perishable items,” Palmer said. “All the monetary donations, the turkeys and everything stay in Dawson so we’re excited.”
Palmer said that, for families or individuals who can’t afford a special meal on Thanksgiving, these boxes can make a world of difference.
“This could be a really sad time for families, a time where they don’t have the money to have a Thanksgiving meal for their family, so this is creating those special memories with their kids that they can really have family time,” Palmer said. “And for our seniors who feel forgotten, this reminds them that they’re not forgotten and lets them have Thanksgiving as well.”
On a personal level, she said that seeing the reactions of the clients when they receive a special meal like the Thanksgiving boxes makes the program even more exciting to get to play a part in.
“I just see food pantry clients in my brain all the time, so I can just picture faces with every turkey that comes in, every canned good — I can just see these families and their faces when we give out these items,” Palmer said.
Seeing a neighborhood like Chestatee come together to rally around a common purpose, she added, is a huge blessing to an organization like The Place of Dawson County that helps so many members of the community.
“We’re so incredibly grateful and humble just for the partnership and for their enthusiasm to give; everyone that has come through is just so positive and excited to give back to the community and Dawson County families and that is just so special and such an encouragement to us to have their partnership,” Palmer said. “This just means everything to Dawson County families; Chestatee neighborhood and their generosity through the years is such an anchor in the community and what they are giving today is going directly to Dawson County families for Thanksgiving.”
This year was Chestatee’s 11th year holding the turkey drive.
Chestatee residents who were instrumental in putting out boxes to collect donations and helping with the food drive included Paul Hanson, Katie Brents, Debbie Myers, Billie Jayroe, Lynn Holliman, Dee Greenspan, Janice Kimball, Kathy Cretney, Gina Allen and Barbara Dumont.
For more information about The Place of Dawson County including how to donate to the organization, go to https://www.theplaceofforsyth.org/ or call 770-288-0088.