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Colleagues donate 350+ frozen turkeys to Food Bank

St. Mary’s Health Care System colleagues and volunteers on the Monday before Thanksgiving donated over 350 turkeys – weighing almost 6,000 pounds – to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia to help families in need this holiday season.

donate turkeys food bank
Food Bank board member Richard Boone, right, accepts one of more than 350 frozen turkeys donated by St. Mary’s colleagues and volunteers from Montez Carter, St. Mary’s President and CEO, and Karen Foutz, St. Mary’s Director of Human Resources.

Each year, St. Mary’s gives a free turkey to each colleague 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 comes with safe cooking information and preparation tips developed by St. Mary’s food service partner, Sodexo.

St. Mary’s makes it easy for colleagues to donate their turkey to the Food Bank, if they wish to do so. All the colleague 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 colleagues who choose to donate their turkey,” said Montez Carter, St. Mary’s President and CEO. “We’re thrilled that hundreds of colleagues and volunteers love getting these turkeys, and we’re just as thrilled that so many donate them to the Food Bank to help others.”

Richard Boone, a co-founder and Board member of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, said the turkeys will be added to boxes with fixings for a fully balanced, nutritious Thanksgiving meal and 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,” Boone 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 more than two tons of food that will help families at risk of hunger across Northeast Georgia. The Food Bank provides about 12 million pounds of food to families through more than 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