- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Generosity overflowed Tuesday morning when the Charles County Children’s Aid Society partnered with several organizations to give Thanksgiving dinners to 250 families in need.
Families came to the Huntington Community Center in Waldorf to bring home free Thanksgiving dinners that included a turkey, vegetables, desserts and iced tea, among other donated delicacies.
Pamela Vahle, chairwoman of the board for the Children’s Aid Society, said the event focuses on Charles County families in need, particularly those with children.
“We’re putting food on people’s tables for the holiday,” Vahle said.
Giving to families around Thanksgiving has been an annual activity for the Children’s Aid Society, Vahle said, and several organizations and volunteers helped get the food for the dinners.
The Waldorf nonprofit partnered with the Charles County Salvation Army, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Darden Restaurants, Genevie Plumbing and several other organizations and volunteers to give families a dinner to cook for themselves.
Volunteers from Joint Base Andrews in Camp Springs and Best Buy packed durable grocery bags that Ken Dixon Automotive donated, Vahle said.
Newburg resident Bobby Boarman, a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation who gave out the turkeys, said the organization gives away about 700 to 800 turkeys a year to Southern Maryland residents as part of its Turkey Hunting Care Package program. The organization of turkey hunters donates turkeys throughout the nation, Boarman said.
For this event, the organization got 250 turkeys weighing 14 to 15 pounds each, Boarman said, adding that the turkeys came from the Walmart Supercenter in King George, Va.
Jane Smith, a volunteer from Indian Head, gave gifts of kitchen items such as dish towels and pot holders to each of the families.
“I think it’s good to give back to the community. It’s good to see the look on everyone’s face when you make their holiday better,” said volunteer Mitchell Buccelli of Port Tobacco.
Later, Philip Ibe of Waldorf arrived at the community center with a Subaru Outback full of bread, rolls, muffins and cakes to donate to families.
“There’s so many people who need help, and if I can help, then that’s good,” Ibe said.
Families receiving the dinners said they were grateful the Children’s Aid Society provided food for Thanksgiving dinner.
Waldorf resident Stacey Dent said the food is very helpful to her, as her four children and a grand-baby will be coming for Thanksgiving.
“I definitely do appreciate it,” Dent said.
Waldorf resident Ernie Spencer said he was grateful for the food that will go to Thanksgiving dinner at his mother-in-law’s residence.
“It’s a good thing. It helps people who can’t afford it, and even if you can afford it, the extra help is appreciated,” Spencer said.
“Every little bit helps,” he added.
Spencer’s son, Tony, 4, said he was looking forward most to getting cake.
Each family received two dessert items.
“It’s very helpful and very kind of them because so many people really need help,” said Melissa Russell, a mother of four who lives in Waldorf.
Vahle said the Children’s Aid Society got the word out through the county’s Department of Social Services and the school system to let families who needed help getting Thanksgiving dinner know the society was offering 250 dinners.
Families first lined up to pick up vegetables, desserts and iced tea and then pulled up their vehicles to pick up their turkeys. The community center bustled with activity as people picked up their food.
Vahle said families were continuing to call for dinners, but the nonprofit could only offer 250 dinners. After 250 families signed up, other families were put on a waiting list in case families on the list did not pick up a dinner.
Waldorf resident Holly Washington said she was looking most forward to picking up her turkey as she waited in line Tuesday morning.
“It’s wonderful that they are helping people, and I’m thankful for them doing this,” Washington said.