Sumter United Ministries needs 60 additional turkeys, hams before Friday ends

Sumter United Ministry volunteers James Mitchell and Will Kennedy help warehouse coordinator Ed Venticenque unload a freezer to make room for frozen turkeys and hams as part of their annual Thanksgiving food drive.
Sumter United Ministry volunteers James Mitchell and Will Kennedy help warehouse coordinator Ed Venticenque unload a freezer to make room for frozen turkeys and hams as part of their annual Thanksgiving food drive.
JIM HILLEY / THE SUMTER ITEM
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With less than a week to go before Thanksgiving, Sumter United Ministries still needs more than 60 turkeys or hams for their Thanksgiving meal drive SUM Executive Director Mark Champagne said late Thursday morning.

Each Thanksgiving, Champagne explained, the ministry selects 150 clients to receive a box of food with everything needed or the typical holiday meal.

"We have different churches and groups that supply all the vegetables and stuffing, but the turkeys we usually get community wide," he said.

The meals will be distributed from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21.

"The people that we have chosen, we send them a card in the mail, if somebody just comes, they won't be able to get a turkey dinner," Champagne said.

He said they like to rotate which clients receive the meals each year.

"They'll come out here and we'll have a bunch of volunteers loading turkeys and the fixings in boxes and putting them in cars," he said.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer should come out at about 11:45 a.m., he said. "It's a lot of fun so it's a great time to come out."

He said any age volunteer can help out, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers will be able to park at the American Legion Hall, next door, he said.

Turkeys can be dropped off today at Sumter United Ministries, 36 Artillery Drive, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bynum Insurance, 1170 Wilson Hall Road.

"It is a lot of fun," Champagne said. "People hugging and stuff and a lot of smiles; it's just a fun type of project that we do."

The Lord's Cupboard at SUM will always accept food donations, Champagne said.

In addition to turkeys for the Thanksgiving drive, the pantry is in need of dried beans, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, canned fruit, boxed potatoes (scalloped, au gratin, etc.), rice mix (Lipton, Rice-A-Roni, etc.), pasta (spaghetti, noodles, etc.), peanut butter, jelly, shelf-life milk, or canned meat and fish such as tuna, salmon, chicken or Vienna sausage.

For more information on donating or volunteering, call (803) 775-0757.