Local effort Feed the Boro plans to provide over 4,000 free Thanksgiving meals Thursday to people who might not otherwise get to enjoy holiday fare. There is still time to sign up, but supplies are limited.
The meals will be prepared and served Thursday at Statesboro High School’s cafeteria on Lester Road from 10 a.m. until noon.
So far, there are 4,100 meals planned for residents of Bulloch, Evans and Candler counties, as well as public safety workers, families visiting loved ones at East Georgia Regional Medical Center, and doctors, nurses and staff who are working during the holiday, said organizer Don Poe.
Feed the Boro has seen an increase of over 1,000 more meals needed than last year. While those who have already signed up will still be able to have their meals delivered to their homes, anyone signing up this week will need to dine in or pick up meals to go, he said. With the increase in demand, there are not enough volunteers to deliver any additional meals, he said.
Anyone who has signed up for the meals is invited to join others to eat at the Statesboro High School cafeteria. For those who haven’t yet signed up, if they wish to pick up “take-out” Thanksgiving dinners, they need to call Poe and let him know ahead of time.
Feed the Boro has been providing holiday meals for more than 20 years. Volunteers and contributions work together to make the event successful, he said.
“The Bulloch County Board of Education turned in over 700 requests this year,” he said.
The BOE sends request forms home with students, who return the forms with the number of meals needed per household.
“Bulloch County is certainly growing, and with more people coming in, there are more people who may be food insecure and unable to have a good Thanksgiving meal.”
Also, not everyone has family with whom to share the holiday. Those who are alone may enjoy visiting with others at the high school, Poe said.
“Many citizens are alone with no family and would enjoy being with others to celebrate this special holiday. This is why we are opening the SHS cafeteria again this year for citizens to dine in with others."
The planning for Feed the Boro starts weeks ahead, and the actual work to get the meal done and served starts days before.
“On Wednesday, Nov. 27, volunteers will begin deboning turkeys, plating desserts, taping up boxes and organizing the meal line,” he said. “Volunteers will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and work throughout the day. On Thursday, volunteers will begin at 7 a.m. preparing the food lines and begin plating at 8 a.m. and distributing food at 10 a.m.”
Feed the Boro will continue taking requests until the resources are depleted, he said. Final orders for supplies have been made.
To reserve a spot for your family to eat Thanksgiving lunch at SHS, call Christian Social Ministry at (912) 489-2407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, making sure to include the number of people in your family. To register for a pick-up order, call Poe at (912) 541-0411.
Volunteers are still needed. Those interested in helping Wednesday or Thursday can visit the Feed the Boro page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/feedboro) to sign up.
Poe said he is grateful to volunteers and supporters.
“We want to especially thank Bi-Lo for once again stepping up this year as our presenting sponsor,” he said. “Local Bi-Lo Manager Tod Marsh and his staff have been very engaged in the planning for this year’s event. Without the presenting, platinum sponsors and all of our corporate and individual sponsors, this would not be possible.”
Platinum sponsors include D&R Automotive, First United Methodist Church, J.C. Lewis Ford and Sega Golf. Gold sponsors include BlueSky Wallcoverings, Davis Marketing, Homestar Financial, Lori Grice Photography and Remax Eagle Creek Realty. Silver sponsors include Premier Dental, Chicken Salad Chick and Queensborough National Bank. Bronze sponsors include The Hunter Group Century 21, ERA Hirsch Realty, Statesboro Oral Surgery, Tippins Polk Construction and State Farm Insurance Ginger Larabee.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.