JEFFERSON CITY - Samaritan Center officials said Thursday the agency had to open in the morning hours to meet the demand for free turkeys this Thanksgiving season. During the month of November, the Samaritan Center is giving away frozen turkeys every day to families in need, along with their usual groceries. The center uses donations from Missourians and churches to fund the meals given out.
"Everyday we give out around 150 turkeys and estimate between 1,300 - 1,600 turkeys overall", said executive director Marylin DeFeo.
The doors up at 4 p.m. everyday, but people begin lining up outside around 3 p.m. Once inside, people go up to the desks, tell them their name--which are usually already in the system, and turn in their grocery lists.
The lists are then printed up in the back pantry where volunteers begin to bag items from the list. This November, the center is giving the option for one free frozen turkey per family along with fixings such as stuffing mix, sweet potatoes, and green beans.
"Many families don't like to leave their homes on Thanksgiving, so it gives the moms a time to cook for her family and also make it last for many meals," said DeFeo.
The last day the center will give away free turkeys is November 20.