Those who devote their time year-round to helping others have stepped up this Thanksgiving to ensure a hearty holiday for Scotland County residents in need.
Ahead of today’s holiday, the food bank at First United Methodist Church provided more than 200 turkeys for those that come to them regularly for flour, vegetables, and other basic staples.
“We gave away 200 turkeys to our regular patrons that we have,” said food bank director Verne Womack. “These people come all the time. We’ve done it like this for about seven years, and this was probably the biggest turnout.”
The turkeys were among the first items to be claimed on Saturday, so the food bank purchased a few more so that no one would leave without the prospect of a turkey dinner in their sights.
“Most of them are very grateful for it when it happens,” said Womack. “They could not have afforded that type of commodity for Thanksgiving.”
On average, a turkey large enough to feed a family of 10 costs about $22, without accounting for other Thanksgiving staples like pumpkin pie and stuffing.
“We hand out numbers when they come in, and they go fairly quickly,” Womack said. “There were six who didn’t get them so we had to go out and buy extra - they are being taken care of.”
Carolina Hearts Home Care in Laurinburg, a home health care and medical equipment company, also distributed 173 birds throughout the day last week.
“The majority of our clients are elderly, and we do have some disabled younger folks,” said Judy Locklear, an administrative assistant at Carolina Hearts. “The owners of our company, Brigitte and Bryan Laney, wanted to spread some love for the holidays.”
Although Thanksgiving turkey is not a medical matter or immediate need, it is the centerpiece of a traditional family holiday.
“It’s a holistic approach; when you talk about home health care then you don’t just want to take care of their house and their personal needs,” said registered nurse Sandra Warren from Laurinburg. “They’re part of our family, and this reaches a part that’s not necessarily a medical need.”
Both Carolina Hearts and the First United Methodist food bank serve those for whom Thanksgiving dinner would be an untenable expense and who might otherwise go without on Thursday afternoon.
“We provide services to people who get Medicaid state-funded health, and sometimes their checks don’t even last for 15 days, if that long, so by the end of the month they’re struggling to try to make ends meet and get food,” said Jonathon Lewis, Carolina Hearts assistant director. “We also give out food here - we’ll go to a food bank and get food to give out at certain holidays, or if we see a client that is in need where they don’t have much. A lot of our aides will come and tell us that their client doesn’t have enough food and then we’ll go to the pantry and get food to send out to the home.”