TERRE HAUTE —
Steve Fox of Terre Haute was standing in line early Wednesday morning to ensure he would be one of 75 people to receive a free Thanksgiving turkey courtesy of a local conservation group and the United Way.
About 7:15 a.m. Fox said he was waiting in the parking lot of the Booker T. Washington Community Center on South 13th Street. About four hours later, he was rewarded with the first free turkey.
“This is very, very nice,” Fox said just before receiving his bird. “This is going to be a phenomenal help.”
The line of people behind Fox stretched for more than 100 feet. The giveaway started at 11 a.m. and was finished in just a few minutes.
“I’m giving this [turkey] to my cousin,” said Mary Brown of Terre Haute, who received one of the first turkeys of the giveaway. Helping other people through donations and gifts is “how we [were] brought up,” she said.
The 75 turkeys, each weighing about 14 pounds, were provided by the Sycamore Ridge Strutters chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. This is the fourth year the local conservation group has provided turkeys to needy families at Thanksgiving.
Cinda Inman, chapter secretary, was helping distribute the turkeys at the community center. She said she was not surprised by the large turnout and hopes next year the organization can do even more.
“Hopefully, we can get some additional partners,” Inman said.
United Way volunteers and staff helped distribute the turkeys, which were frozen and given to each person along with a loaf of bread donated by Catholic Charities. Donations were limited to one turkey per family.
While still waiting in line, Roberta Brown of Terre Haute said she will cook her turkey to provide a good Thanksgiving meal for her grandchildren.
“I really appreciate it,” she said. “Praise the Lord.”
The last turkeys were given away a few minutes after 11 a.m., leaving a handful of people disappointed. However, each person still received a loaf of bread, and a free Thanksgiving dinner was being provided inside the community center just a few yards away.
“It’s a great thing,” said Troy Fears, executive director of the United Way of the Wabash Valley, who was managing the giveaway. “Hopefully, next year we’ll be able to provide more turkeys and help more people. We know at least 75 families will have a better Thanksgiving because of this.”
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@