Ardmore Elks lodge delivers Thanksgiving meals to over 150 families in need

Drew Butler
dbutler@gannett.com
Vim Dahya injects turkeys with spices to get them ready to go into the smoker. The Ardmore Elks Lodge smoked over 282 turkeys on Monday to put into Thanksgiving meal packages for individuals and families in need.
Ardmore Elks wrap smoked turkeys in foil for their meal packages. In total over 660 people including over 150 families were fed during the third annual Feeding Families in Need event.

The smell of smoked turkey filled the air on Monday as the Ardmore Elks Lodge held their third annual Feeding Families in Need event. In total the Elks smoked over 280 turkeys, and made meal packages that will feed over 660 people and 150 families. Those receiving the turkeys could pick them up or have them delivered by the Carter County Sheriff’s Office.

Elk Cheryl Jackson said the event started after Elks Steve McBride and Troy Sutherlin decided to do a Thanksgiving event to help local families in need.

“Troy always says that he feels like mission work doesn’t have to be overseas, you can start at home and help your own community,” Jackson said. “At first it was entirely funded by Troy and Steve, but we decided to get the community involved to make donations so that we could help even more people.”

In total over 19 different businesses and individuals contributed to help make the day possible. In addition to monetary and food donations, several people took the day off of work to help prepare the food, and the Elks were loaned 13 smokers for the day to cook all of the turkeys.

Jackson said the Ardmore Veterans Center, the Children’s Shelter and Marietta Schools will be picking up several bulk orders. The other recipients came from suggestions from local schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations as well as suggestions from social media.

“I reached out to all of our local schools, churches, the Children’s Shelter, the Salvation Army and the Grace Center, and they gave us a list of people who were in need,” she said. “I also put it on Facebook and people reached out and said they knew a family who needed a dinner or they needed a dinner themselves.”

Some of the deliveries came from people who are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We had some people contact us who said we’re all quarantined and can’t go out to the store, so they asked us to porch drop them a meal,” Jackson said. “We also have several older people and people with disabilities whose families reached out to us because they did not want to risk exposing themselves to the virus.”

Jackson said none of this would have been possible without the help from the community.

“A big thank you goes out to all of our donors and volunteers,” Jackson said. “We could not have done any of this without them. With things being tight this year because of coronavirus, it’s especially important that all of us can help out when we can.”