15 Dollars Equals 100 Turkeys and Unlimited Smiles
During an organizational meeting for the 2020 Detroit Has Heart Gala, we discovered an opportunity to stand in the gap for families this Thanksgiving. Two of this year’s gala participants–Lomas Brown, Event Chair and Tim Walton–both former Detroit Lions players, shared that they were working with the Former Players, Detroit Chapter to collect 300 turkeys for distribution at the Plymouth United Church of Christ in just three days.
Tim had to take a message, and I overheard him saying that he had promised 300 turkeys, but there was a need for 400. As always, we could not miss an opportunity, and we knew that we could turn to Detroiters and that they would have the heart to help us complete that order. So, we partnered with them and went to work.
What can $15 do?
We used social media. We went out on foot. We even spoke to some of the managers at Meijer. As we expected, it was the people that gave $15 a turkey and allowed us to raise $1,000 in order to purchase the additional 100 turkeys that were needed.
We had people buying turkeys on their own and contacting us just to be a part of the giving. There was even one Thanksgiving angel who called on Sunday and asked, “How many more?” We told her. She did the math, and she sent over the money to make it happen. And so, the partners that made it possible included our 2020 Fundraising Gala Host Committee and individual community members working with Meijer in Southfield, Michigan.
Rising to the Occasion
Working towards a goal together is always very exciting. Once we are focused on meeting a need, it is really humbling to see it coming to pass. The whole process really puts the holidays in perspective. The energy of teamwork made it apparent to everyone that we were going to make it.
It did not matter the number of turkeys. We said, “Yes,” and we just knew that God and the people were willing to meet the needs. In the end, we were able to get 103 turkeys! They were distributed at the church to local families in need. There was even a senior citizens’ home next door. People were lined up down the street as early as 7:00 in the morning.
Each person went through the line, and our team of volunteers made sure each one received a turkey and all the trimmings. To our delight, Innocence Maintained, thirteen Detroit citizens wrongfully convicted and now released, also came along to contribute 20 of the turkeys and to assist people who needed additional help. They actually helped walk their items to their cars. If they were on a walker or cane, they even gave rides home. Every need was met.
A Heart of Gratitude
Every person was so very, very grateful–the givers and the receivers. They look forward to this every year, so we did not want to turn one person away. We were glad that we did not have to. We reached the goal.
We are thankful to Rev. Nicholas Hood, Pastor of Plymouth United Church of Christ and the Former Players, Detroit Chapter, for allowing Detroit Has Heart the opportunity to be a part of this.