What would you do with 35 turkeys, 75 pans of dressing, 60 pans of potatoes and 100 different types of cakes and desserts?
Bright Beginnings Daycare will be giving away those items and others at its free Community Thanksgiving Dinner this weekend.
In its fifth year, the event has grown, with Bright Beginnings Daycare co-owner Kimberly Bowling estimating volunteers will serve free Thanksgiving dinners to 1,500 Floyd County residents on Sunday, Nov. 24.
The meal will be served from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the daycare, located at 3122 South Lake Drive in Lancer, and volunteers will start delivering meals to people who can’t travel to the daycare at 10 a.m.
The daycare started hosting this event to help people in need five years ago. Bowling said the meal, however, is open to any person, regardless of their financial situation.
“Literally, everyone is welcome. I don’t care how much you make ... It’s open to anybody, regardless of your income. We don’t care. We are just, anybody that walks through that door, is going to be a blessing to us,” Bowling said. “We don’t care who you are. It’s not about how much you make or what you have or what you don’t have. Like I said, each and every person that comes in here, it’s a blessing. This is for the community.”
When she and her sister Ashley Bartley started the dinner five years ago, volunteers rounded up guests by standing near the road with signs announcing the free meal. Last year, volunteers served 1,352 meals. No roadside signs were needed.
This marks the first year that the daycare has raised enough funds to buy all of the supplies, Bowling said. In prior years, volunteers bought turkeys, side dishes and desserts to prepare and give away. Bowling said the daycare raised funds to buy some — but not all — of the supplies needed last year, but this year, numerous businesses donated items for an online Facebook auction that raised $4,000 — enough to buy everything needed for the dinner.
“We were so blessed. We raised more than enough money to pay for everything,” she said. “It was amazing. We were blown away just by how a lot of businesses in the community donated items and stuff ... We had an awesome turnout for that and we couldn’t ask for no better.”
She said volunteers are still needed to help cook 35 turkeys, 75 pans of dressing, 60 pans of potatoes and 100 cakes and desserts that will be given away, as well as other items that will be provided in this meal.
“It’s your typical Thanksgiving meal,” she said. “You name it; we’ll have it.”
She said the daycare will be converted into a “little in-house restaurant,” headed by volunteers, and volunteers are also needed to deliver meals to people who call.
“We’ll take all the helping hands that we can get,” Bowling said.
The meal is available for people who’d like to dine in or carry out and deliveries are also available.
Those needing delivery may call, (606) 886-3121, (606) 422-0455, (606) 259-5859, (606) 226-9602 or, (606) 791-9119. Bowling asks that people requesting deliveries call before Sunday to request them, but she said requests for deliveries will still be answered that day. Volunteers will arrive at the daycare at 7 a.m., she said.
“Until all the food is gone, we’ll be here,” she said.