Two local organizations are showing their Thanksgiving spirit this year as they have given away turkeys and Thanksgiving meal baskets to those less fortunate and in need.
The Fort Campbell Fire Department donated 280 turkeys, equaling over 4,000 pounds of turkey to local charities Wednesday afternoon.
FCFD donated and delivered 150 turkeys to YAIPaks of Clarksville, 65 turkeys to the Oak Grove Community Center, and 65 to the Salvation Army in Hopkinsville.
Firefighter Paul Morgan said the department was able to raise around $1,865 that it used to purchase turkeys to donate.
Morgan shared that YAIPaks will be donating the turkeys they received to local veterans in the Clarksville area, while the Oak Grove Community Center donated theirs to locals in need.
Salvation Army, however, will be using the donated turkeys for its upcoming Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless and others in need.
The Fort Campbell Fire Department shattered last year's record of donated turkeys as they were only able to donate 144 turkeys, Morgan said.
"We did really good this year and the department always likes to help out, and we enjoy doing that," Morgan said.
Morgan began donating turkeys with the help of the department nine years ago, when his mother, Cindy Morgan came up with the idea.
He shared that nine years ago, he was chatting with his mother who said she was looking for turkeys to give away to an organization that were in need for Thanksgiving. Morgan asked around the department that year to see if they could donate money to purchase the turkeys, and it grew from there.
"It just started like that," he said. "The chiefs and everybody said they thought it was a good idea. So, here we are. We've been doing it every year and we've been doing more every single year, it seems like."
This year, with the amount of turkeys they were able to purchase for donations, the department had to use four truck loads to haul all of the turkeys.
"The guys (at the department) like helping and they really enjoy donating," Morgan said. "We just try to up every year, and we've been doing pretty good."
He added along with raising $1,865 this year, next year he and the department will be pushing to raise around $2,000 to help even more people that need Thanksgiving turkeys.
"We like helping the less fortunate. It's part of the job -- trying to help people, and I figured it was just another way we could do it. It's a good feeling dropping those turkeys off and seeing those people," Morgan added.
The Fort Campbell Masonic Lodge is also doing its part donating to those need in prior to Thanksgiving.
The Masonic Lodge put together 10 Thanksgiving meal baskets that they are delivering to families that are recommended to them by others in the community.
see turkeys/page a3
In years past, the Lodge would always donate money, so this year is the first time they are donating baskets instead of funds, according to Steven Grudzinski, the secretary of the Lodge.
"We wanted to actually do the baskets this year so we could hand them out and just see the smiles on people's faces," Grudzinksi said.
The baskets are made to feed a family of four and include a 10- to 13-pound turkey, instant potatoes, boxes of stuffing, cans of yams, marshmallows, green beans, corn, packets of gravy mix, cranberry sauce and other foods you would find at a Thanksgiving dinner.
Grudzinksi said the idea to donate baskets rather than money stemmed from the Lodge donating 2,000 eggs for a local Easter egg hunt earlier this year.
"It was just nice to see where the money was going and how it was making people happy and smile," he said. "So, we decided to put together the baskets and the (Lodge) brothers donated the money and we got the baskets together."
So far, the Lodge has donated three baskets to local families in need and are slated to deliver two more today and one more Saturday, leaving four more to be donated.
"They're always extremely grateful," Grudzinksi said of how the families have responded so far. "When we showed up to the homes with the entire meal in a basket, they were overwhelmed. This one mother opened the door and my wife was there with the basket and (the mother) was just almost in tears and hugging her with all kinds of praise."
With four baskets remaining, the Lodge is asking for people to recommend families who might need a Thanksgiving meal.
If you know any families who would benefit from the baskets, you can email the Lodge at firstname.lastname@example.org or message Grudzinski on Facebook.
Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra.