Employees, volunteers donate 200 turkeys to Food Bank
St. Mary’s Health Care System employees and volunteers have donated nearly 200 turkeys – weighing almost a ton-and-a-half – to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia to help families in need this holiday season.
Each year, St. Mary’s gives a free turkey to each employee and volunteer as a token of appreciation for their dedication and service. During the week before Thanksgiving, frozen turkeys were handed out by system leaders at St. Mary’s Health Care System in Athens, St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital in Lavonia, St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Greensboro, as well as ancillary facilities in Athens, Bogart and Watkinsville. Each turkey came with safe cooking information and preparation tips developed by St. Mary’s food service partner, Sodexo.
St. Mary’s makes it easy for employees to donate their turkey to the food bank, if they wish to do so. All the employee is asked to do is let Human Resources know they want to donate their turkey. Then, the Food Bank picks up all the donated turkeys on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
“Every year I’m amazed and moved by the number of employees who choose to donate their turkey,” said Jeff English, President of St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital and Vice President of Human Resources for St. Mary’s Health Care System. “We’re thrilled that hundreds of employees and volunteers love getting these turkeys, and we’re just as thrilled that so many donate them to the food bank to help others.”
John Becker, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, said the turkeys were distributed immediately, mostly to individual families.
“St. Mary’s has blessed the community and hundreds of families for many years through their donations of turkeys for Thanksgiving,” Becker said. “God Bless all of you and thank you for working through the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia to feed our struggling neighbors.”
With each turkey weighing 17 pounds on average, St. Mary’s donation represents about 3,400 pounds of food that will help families at risk of hunger across Northeast Georgia. The food bank provides food to over 225 soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers, churches and other non-profit hunger relief organizations in 14 counties: Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Jackson, Madison, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Rabun, Stephens, Towns and White. For more information about the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and the agencies with which it partners, visit www.foodbanknega.org.
John Becker, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, center, accepts one of about 200 frozen turkeys donated by St. Mary’s employees and volunteers from Titus Gambrell, left, St. Mary’s Chief Nursing Officer, and Mark Abbott, right, St. Mary’s director of Food and Nutrition Services.