Despite the chilly conditions, a local group called Food for Kids came out to fill the hearts and stomachs of people in St. Joseph Friday morning. Starting at 4 a.m. volunteers from Food for Kids started filling up the parking lot at St. Francis Baptist Temple for their annual turkey distribution.
Shelia Gilbert helps coordinate the program each year and said the group is very service oriented. Gilbert said they want to provide assistance for anyone who needs help.
“We love bringing the community together. We want to lift the spirits of those who are in need,” Gilbert said.
For ten years the group has been giving away free turkeys for Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception. Volunteers gave away 200 frozen turkeys, 200 chickens and various groceries to get people ready for the upcoming holidays.
“We give out turkeys, hams and we have chickens this year. We give all the amenities that are affiliated with a Thanksgiving dinner,” Gilbert said.
Food for Kids provided everything needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, as well as some non-traditional gifts that included pet food, blankets and gift cards.
Shelia's husband Kenzie Gilbert is also an active volunteer for the turkey giveaway, he said the season is all about giving back to neighbors and strangers alike.
“The holidays are all about giving and we are trying to be able to make sure everyone will be able to put a turkey on that table this year,” Kenzie said.
In addition to the free food, volunteers tried to feed the crowds' spirit along with their stomachs. Several members of the church provided musical performances and brief sermons to entertain the crowd while they waited in line.
“We’ve been doing this for the community where everyone can be able to have a joyous Thanksgiving and Christmas," Kenzie said.
In addition to the turkey provided by Food for Kids, the group also delivered food to several senior citizens in the area who couldn't make it to the distribution.