Roxanne Thomas, 52, of Raleigh said the holidays can be especially tough on her family when money is tight.
She and her husband have three grown sons in school and struggle to get by on a small income, she said.
Thomas walks with a limp. She stays home because she is on disability with arthritis and back problems, while her husband works.
So for the past two years, they have received a turkey and produce from Community of Hope and Butterball in order to feed her family.
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“It’s hard,” Thomas said. “Churches may give out food but don’t give out turkeys like this, but I’d be blessed with anything because it is hard.”
Thomas and her husband have fallen on hard times. She usually comes once a month for Community of Hope’s food pantry.
“I like their services and what they have been doing for the community,” she said. “What they are doing is excellent.”
Thomas said she feels that there should be more programs like Community of Hope, who has passed out turkeys and produce for families in need the past six years.
Amy White said the former chairman of Butterball reached out to Garner looking for an agency to be the channel for a giving program to give turkeys to families in need for the holidays.
Mayor Ronnie Williams called White and Community of Hope and asked would she be willing to coordinate the program for the town.
“And it’s been a successful program ever since,” White said. “We’ve been in a unique position just to build collaborative partnerships with neighborhoods in the area, and businesses in the area, folks that want to be a part of something special for making something good happen for families at Thanksgiving.”
The program is now in its sixth year and each year, Butterball and Community of Hope gives out on average 254 turkeys.
The produce, which includes sweet potatoes comes from Nash Produce as well as some from Food Lion and the North Carolina Farmer’s Market.
Some food is given to the clients Community of Hope serves on a regular basis and some is shared with other agencies in the area that do similar acts of giving back.
Those agencies include Hope Ministries, Angie’s Restaurant, Able to Serve, Garner Area Ministries, the Hispanic Ministry at First Baptist and the Rolesville Kiwanis Club.
“Thanksgiving is a time to gather and celebrate and remember all that God has done to bless us throughout the year,” White said, “and to make sure every family has the chance to have a Thanksgiving meal that would be representative of what most Americans feel is a Thanksgiving meal.”
One of the initiatives Community of Hope is trying to take on is to raise money to give back.
During a ceremony before they passed out the turkeys, White and others asked those in the audience to give back and donate at least 50 cents for a program called Feeding Children Everywhere. It is a food packing project for meals that will go to Haiti.
The average cost of those meals is 25 cents per person. First Baptist of Garner was hoping to pack 100,000 meals.
Thomas, the wife and mother of three, said she hopes people will help out.
“I know somebody has $1.50. So give it,” Thomas said. “Because look what you’re getting back for that price, because you need programs like this.”