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Columbia organizations give away hundreds of free turkeys, prepare for Thanksgiving meal


Five days away from Thanksgiving, volunteers passed out hundreds of boxes filled with turkeys, stuffing, green beans and all the other holiday favorites to a line of cars wrapped around the Parkade Plaza off Business Loop.

Volunteers from several Columbia organizations spent their Saturday passing out boxes of Thanksgiving food to any family in need of some extra help this holiday season.

Powerhouse Community Development, Love Columbia, Rock the Community and more came together to put on this food drive, but it's just the beginning. Powerhouse will also host a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday at the Columbia Senior Activity Center.

Rita Renee, director of Rock the Community, told ABC 17 they were busy all day at the food giveaway.

"Without events like this, a lot of families wouldn't have a good holiday season," Renee said.

Charles Stephenson, CEO of Powerhouse Community Development, said the Thanksgiving dinner is a 24-year-old tradition started by the late Alemta Crayton, and carried on by those who remember her legacy. Stephenson said he can almost hear her late godson, Kentrell Minton, telling him, "Everyone eats!"

"What I love about this dinner, historically, is bringing people from all walks of life together in one place," Stephenson said. "So it's not only about serving the meal, it's about bringing the community together."

Stephenson tells ABC 17 they're still looking for donations and volunteers for the Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.

"We're still looking for more delivery drivers to get the food out to different senior citizen centers and different places on that day," Stephenson said.

Ways to donate and contact information for anyone interested in helping can be found on the Powerhouse website. They're still looking for volunteers to be delivery drivers, greeters and security at the event where they expect around 1,200 people to come eat.

Meanwhile, Rock the Community is already looking toward Christmas. The organization is accepting donations of coats, wrapped toys and dry food goods to distribute for Christmas and other winter holidays. More information on how to donate is on Rock the Community's website.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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