Sumter community enjoys Thanksgiving meal after volunteers overcome obstacles

More than 1,000 people fed during the holiday event

Volunteers put together plates at the annual Thanksgiving meal headed up by Geraldine Singleton and the Today's Ladies Club.
Volunteers put together plates at the annual Thanksgiving meal headed up by Geraldine Singleton and the Today's Ladies Club.
JIM HILLEY / THE SUMTER ITEM
Posted

Geraldine Singleton's annual Thanksgiving meal had to overcome some obstacles and got off to a late start Sunday at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, but nobody was complaining.

"We were a little bit late because the oven wasn't working," Singleton said.

Singleton soon got some extra help.

"The firemen came and helped us heat it up," she said. "We have a lot of food to heat."

Despite the difficulties, Singleton and her many volunteers were busy sending out plates even as people waited for the OK to form a line.

By 1 p.m., hungry Sumterites were diving into their plates of turkey, dressing, cake and more than the usual number of trimmings.

Singleton has been overseeing the holiday tradition for more than 30 years, starting with a small group of co-workers calling themselves the Today's Ladies Club.

On Sunday, she was busy instructing volunteers and telling drivers where to make deliveries to those who are unable to make it to the location.

More than 1,000 free meals are served each year, and on the Sunday before Christmas, she and her volunteers will be doing it again.

Volunteer Brenda Riley said she has been helping with the annual event for five years.

"I look forward to it," she said.

Shirley Fink said this was her first year helping Singleton feed Sumter.

"I came with my grandson as a way of saying 'Thank you,'" she said, as she fished through a pan of turkey looking for a fugitive bone.

Six-year old Daniel was among the first in line with his brother, Dorien, 4, sister, Deveah, 10, and mother, Danielle, who said it was the second year they had come to the Thanksgiving meal.

"I'm not hungry," Daniel proclaimed with a big grin.

One can assume the young contrarian overcame that obstacle in no time at all.