Hundreds of Baldwin County families in need will still get a Thanksgiving meal.
The annual Turkey Take Out, which feeds more than 2,000 people each year, is still happening despite Hurricane Sally and the pandemic.
Organizers knew this year would be a challenge. The Take Out was almost canceled. In the end, so many came through to make it happen.
"This year we have well over 415 families that we are serving roughly right around 2200 people we are feeding," said Dr. Bill Lawrence, who helped start the Turkey Take Out at its inception 11 years ago.
Hundreds of turkeys will still make it to someone's table this Thanksgiving. Yes, there are fewer volunteers, all wearing face coverings. It’s the only way to get the job done safely.
Absent this year will be the smoked turkeys cooked the day before Thanksgiving and the dozens of volunteers who work the kitchens at schools in Foley and Gulf Shores.
"Folks have been hurting financially and then hit with the hurricanes and the loses that we had. People are hurting and needing help," said Lawrence.
Something as simple as collecting canned goods at local schools had to be scaled down.
"It wasn’t necessarily harder, we just didn’t get as much due to people suffering damage from the hurricane and COVID. I feel like we still had a good response," said school counselor Davina Gant who works at Summerdale School.
Even with a devastating hurricane and the challenge to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Turkey Take Out will go on. Early on, organizers had serious doubts. But schools, businesses, and other donors came through.
"A lot of your kids are in virtual schools. A lot of your companies are in remote working environments. Companies in our area that normally give so much, they got creative. One of our businesses that was remote working, they took up money and bought canned goods because they couldn’t donate like they normally would," said Todd Forrest with Anchor Point Church in Foley.
"That is what we are here for. We are not just providing a meal and not just groceries. We are delivering hope," said Lawrence.
This year, uncooked meals and frozen turkeys will be delivered Saturday, Nov. 21 - week before Thanksgiving. Turkeys were bought and donated by local churches. The Hangout Hospitality Group out of Gulf Shores donated 300 turkeys.