First Posted: 11/17/2009
Thanks to a local Sunday school class, about 200 Surry County families are expected to receive a free Thanksgiving meal next week through an effort now in its 16th year.
The annual Joanne Jordan Memorial Meal Project enables the food to be delivered right to the doors of needy recipients.
It is coordinated by the Emmanuel Sunday school class of First Baptist Church in Mount Airy, which is assisted by about 40 agencies including The Salvation Army, social services, schools and other organizations. The local Wal-Mart also plays a key role, said Woody Jordan, a spokesman for the effort named in honor of his mother.
Volunteer drivers will gather at the store next Wednesday afternoon to pick up the pre-cooked meals and deliver them to homes throughout the county. Included will be a turkey weighing 10 to 12 pounds, dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie.
It feeds a whole family, said Jordan, who explained that estimates indicate there are four people per every household served. After being heated up, the meal is ready for the table.
Weve got probably 40 drivers who make deliveries and most of them are our church members, Jordan said, while others simply have heard about the holiday program and want to assist.
It just started in our Sunday school class kind of as a class project, he said.
One thing I like about it is that it kind of kicks off the holiday season, Jordan continued. Many charitable efforts focus on Christmas, but the Joanne Jordan Memorial Meal Project is one of the few targeted toward Thanksgiving. It kind of gets everyone in the holiday spirit.
Typically, prospective meal recipients have their names submitted by school, social services and other personnel, and they are ranked according to need, Jordan said. However, everyone submitted for consideration has received meals in the last few years, which Jordan thinks is noteworthy considering the tough economic times.
Knock on wood, weve been fortunate, he said. There is a lot of need out there.
The food is obtained from Wal-Mart at a volume price, then prepared and boxed for delivery on the day before the holiday. Wal-Mart has always been very generous to try to help us out, Jordan said, adding that other area churches support the effort as well.
During the past 15 years, it is estimated that about 2,085 families representing some 7,582 adults and children have been assisted.
It is still possible for someone to sponsor a meal for a family that might not be on the recipient list already. This can be accomplished by calling First Baptist Church at 786-5185 and supplying the familys name, address and telephone number.
Those targeted to receive the food are contacted in advance. Deliveries will commence next Wednesday afternoon and be completed by 8 p.m.
A suggested contribution of $33 is required of someone sponsoring a meal recipient, with any extra donations used to buy more food. Checks should be made payable to FBC-Thanksgiving Meals and must be left at the church office on North Main Street by Sunday, which is the deadline for the program.
Aid is welcome in another way besides financial.
We can always use delivery people, Jordan said.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.