by David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Monday morning, Wake Forest Police officers gave out approximately 700 turkeys at the Community House, to help people who might not otherwise be able to celebrate Thanksgiving.
With them were members of Wake Forest United Methodist Church, who, via the Society of St. Andrew, handed out approximately 2,000 pounds of sweet potatoes for a vegetable to go on the side.
Annette Massenburg was smiling as she received her turkey and bag of sweet potatoes Monday, serving up some praise for thoseresponsible for the feast.
“I think it’s great for the unfortunate, those with less, those not able to work or out of work, so I think it’s a great idea what they’re doing every year,” she said. “It helps a whole lot. They’re doing a good job.”
Mike Sattler, the Wake Forest Police detective who organizes the giveaway, said 400 of the turkeys were purchased at Walmart, 229 dropped off by members of the community and the rest obtained at other locations. They were given to whomever was willing to wait in line, first come,
“People were here at 5:30,” said Wake Forest Police Lt. Scott Graham, impressed with people’s willingness to brave the icy, 23-degree Fahrenheit morning, “It was lined up to South Main.”
The police officers fundraise and request donated turkeys every year. And they always run out.
The turkeys average around 15 pounds, and retail for about $17. It might not seem like much to spend, but with side dishes, sauce and drinks, some families can’t afford the cost.
Three turkeys were given to David Bissette, who lives at the corner of South Main Street and West Owen Avenue, just up the street from the Community House. Bissette turned those birds over to Mike Holland, who is assisting the Meet Me at the Bridge ministry to feed the homeless in Durham.
“We have had a few more (turkeys) fall in as well, so that puts us at the ‘best case goal,’ not just the ‘barely enough’ goal we were at!” Holland commented online.
Sattler began the now annual drive in 2007. That year, 75 turkeys were given away at Tri-Area Ministry. In the ensuing years, the number has grown, as has community involvement. In the seven years since the effort began, about 3,400 total turkeys have been shared.
“Thank you to everyone who contributed to this year’s Turkey Drive,” said Sattler. “The event would not be possible without the incredible assistance of area residents, businesses and other organizations whose generosity helped make the Thanksgiving holiday a little easier for hundreds of people and families.”