This is the second year that our church has held Adopt-A-Turkey Day. The event was the brain-child of our outreach chairwoman. The members of the congregation donated the money for the turkeys. The turkeys were purchased from Walmart and then members filled their trucks and hauled them over to the church. This year we had 703 turkey - plus 100 pounds of potatoes, which were donated by a member of our congregation. Because we went over-budget Walmart of Harbor Creek, Pennsylvania donated the extra 38 turkeys, which they had already packaged for us.
After the trucks began rolling into the parking lot, the unloading and lining up began. Two rows per person was the idea, but this year we had more volunteers so it ended up being one row per person.
Next the boxes had to be torn open and the turkeys moved into fewer boxes, for the convenience of the volunteers. Andrew and Mandi helped us to open boxes.
Lots of boxes...
Folks were so excited that they began lining up before the turkeys even arrived. The line started forming over two hours before we began handing out the turkeys.
The next step was to tag the turkeys. We attached tracts with a bible verse and Thanksgiving wishes to each turkey.
...all 703 turkeys...
We were scheduled to begin at 10am. With volunteers working since 7:30am, we had some time to take a deep breath before the event actually started. Andrew chatted with his friends...
India and Mandi relaxed on the stairs inside the church before their shift as advertising began.
William checked out the boxes.
Matthew held up the freezer. Oops! My mistake. Matthew made the coffee for the coffee bar in the Narthex. We invited folks in and brought coffee out to those who preferred to stay in line.
It was a chilly morning, after all.
And we're off!
People were so happy. There is nothing like helping out others.
I can't forget the advertisers. India stood in the park in downtown North East. At first she didn't get much attention but after a while she took off her hood so her red hair was shining in the sun as she danced and sang. India was even asked out by a boy in a passing car.
(Not to worry, we know the boy from our volunteer work at the Thrift Shop:)
Mandi is a little less out-going. I know! Weird, considering she is the cheerleader. She was a bit uncomfortable with people looking at her.
Jerome wasn't really signed up for anything but he loves to volunteer. Since I had signed Mandi up as advertising chairwoman, this is what Jerome chose to do to help.
The crowd making it's way through.
I thought this photo was interesting because of it's angle. I have a sneaking suspicion it was taken from atop the luggage rack of my van.
Once the walkers came through, we allowed people in cars to drive through as we placed their turkeys in their cars.
This is how it looked from my perspective as we handed out turkeys to those in cars.
At first William didn't get it. He couldn't understand why we were spending our Saturday morning giving turkeys to people. (It's an Asperger's thing.) Once he realized how happy it made people and how good it made us feel as a result, William was more than eager to start handing out turkeys himself.
With the turkeys all gone, the advertising crew returns.
Last year we handed out around 653 turkeys and were stopping cars in the street to give them away. People thought "It's a church, there must be a catch". There was no catch. This was not based on income, if you needed a turkey - we had one for you.
This year we were out in 55 minutes!! 55 minutes and 703 turkeys! People heard the news and knew where to go. I know we will be bigger next year.
I know my church.
All that was left was to help Linda clean up the coffee bar, with help from Andrew, Matthew and India (Mandi helped too). Then home and to spend the rest of the day basking in the internal warmth we all felt.
Plus hanging out with Rachel and eating too much cake. But that is for later blogs.