LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - Hundreds of volunteers in Lexington put off their Thanksgiving dinner to cook, package, and deliver food to families who may not otherwise have one on this holiday. Thursday, Operation Turkey got underway for its 23rd year at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church.
"I just pray that they will be blessed through this and know that they are not forgotten and that we do love them," Operation Turkey volunteer Eve Barker said.
The program will serve more than 1,300 meals this year with turkey, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, a roll, and a piece of pie, according to Barker. She said it's all made possible thanks to nearly 300 volunteers, including Tony McCluney, who has been volunteering since 1999.
"I'm sort of the chief cook and bottle washer back in the kitchen. We hope we serve them a good product, we hope they enjoy it and we wish them a happy Thanksgiving," said McCluney.
Joy Eckert is currently a grad student in D.C., but she still finds the time to come home and volunteer with Operation Turkey. She's been involved since she was in third grade.
"It's one of my favorite things to do each and every year," said Eckert. "It's good to come back to see family and friends at Saxe Gotha and also to get to help out during the holidays. Whenever you think about all the people who don't have everything that we have it's important to help out and to make sure that everybody has a happy Thanksgiving and that everybody's able to eat and get fed and enjoy time with their family."
Once the food is prepared and packaged, volunteer drivers deliver the dinners right to your front door. The families are selected based on recommendations given to the church.
"I'm a strong believer in giving. God has been so gracious to me and it's just a lifestyle choice," said Mary McIlwain, who has volunteered with Operation Turkey since it first began.
"I hope everybody has a great Thanksgiving and enjoy your family and just look around and see what all God has given us that we can be thankful for today," Barker said.
The dinners have been delivered for this year, but Saxe Gotha Church is still accepting donations to help cover the expenses. You can donate by visiting this link or mailing a check to
Saxe Gotha Church
5503 Sunset Boulevard
Lexington, SC 29072