By: Terry Simpson
Ask people what they love about Monroe County, and most will tell you the generosity and caring nature of the population.
Over the years we have seen so many acts of kindness and generosity in our little town, but no more than in the past few weeks with the holiday seasons underway.
Granted it is the giving season and a time to be thankful and that may inspire others to do more but you still have to have the heart and the will and —about 37 turkeys, according to the Bartley family.
Yes, 37 turkeys. That is how many birds it takes to make almost 400 Thanksgiving meals, consisting of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and a variety of desserts, with 336 being delivered and 38 served on site of the “Turkey the Town” event. The event, hosted by the children and grandchildren of Randall and Lou Ann Bartley was and inspired by the free yearly Thanksgiving meal held at the Ralph Bunch Community Center in Glasgow, where several volunteers did everything from donating food to peeling potatoes.
Lori (Bartley) Hernandez and her family always volunteered at the Glasgow event. When they recently returned to their home town, they wanted to bring their tradition of helping to feed families in need or those who may not have anywhere to go for the holiday, along with them.
They spoke with their extended family and the idea was brought to life.
Soon, they came up with a catchy name to “Turkey the Town,” made a Facebook page and quietly set about their mission. While the group tried to remain quiet, not seeking recognition for their act of kindness, they were overwhelmed by community support as word quickly spread through the county. Donations of food, money, plastic tableware and other supplies started coming in as the event neared.
The group worked throughout the night before Thanksgiving making food and desserts. Volunteers, including entire families, some bringing children as young as six years old, showed up at the Farmers Market bright and early on Thanksgiving morning ready to deliver and serve meals.
Everyone was quickly caught up in the excitement and joy of coming together as a community to help their fellow man and the event was a huge success.
The group hopes the “Turkey the Town” event will become another Monroe County tradition for many years to come and with monetary donations from businesses and community members, the plans are already in the works for 2019.
Following the event, Lori said, “The whole day, as well as the day before, was exhaustingly perfect. We were overwhelmed at the number of volunteers. This small town is, without a doubt, one of the most caring and giving around. The support we received was key in making our first ‘Turkey the Town’ a success.