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  • Clay County Food Pantry

Our Thanksgiving Helpers

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

The Clay County Progress

Thursday, November 28, 2019

By Lorrie Ross Staff Writer :

To some people, Turkey Day is when the traditional Thanksgiving feast of turkey with all of the trimmings is shared with loved ones. At the Clay County Food Pantry, Turkey Day is when hundreds of birds are offered to patrons so they may enjoy the traditional feast themselves. It happens every year on the Friday before Thanksgiving and then again the Friday before Christmas. Fred Sickel, president of the Clay County Food Pantry explained. "Turkey Day is our biggest day of the year," he said. "On this day, each family has a choice of a turkey, ham or chicken, plus extra items for a special Thanksgiving dinner. :e also offer our regular weekly box of food." Turkey day 2019 served 295 families with 747 people. Senior adults were 149 of the total, while 374 other adults were served along with 222 children. The total number of food boxes given out was 389. Friday, Nov. 22, was Turkey Day 2019 and the crowds were even bigger than expected. One volunteer said the food pantry opened its doors 30 minutes early because so many people were waiting.

Since opening its doors in 1992, the Clay County Food Pantry has been a source of free food for local residents for almost three decades. Whether the need is simply for a few weeks or a long-term need, a variety of food is offered to visitors from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday. Even with the upturn in the economy, the need remains high. Sickel said the average weekly rate of family visits for the past nine months has been 206. During the same time, the average weekly rate of people served has been 540. Sickel added. "We are able to do this because of the generosity of local churches, businesses and family donations." The following are the numbers. Even so, more help is always needed, both financial and volunteer since the organization is 100 percent volunteer run. Sickel said the food pantry will be open normal hours the day after Thanksgiving. Visitors may come from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. They will also be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Friday after Christmas. The Clay County Food Pantry is at 2278 Hinton Center Road. People can donate a turkey of ham by bringing it to the pantry from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. any Friday. Tax deductible financial donations may be sent to: Clay County Food Pantry, P.O. Box 853, Hayesville, NC 28904.

The Clay County Food Pantry is a non-profit completely run by volunteers. They unload delivery trucks, gather the food patrons ask for and even load their cars, if needed. Ida Holmes, Jeannie Pierce, Barbara Hutchins and Janet Cummings were filling shopping carts with items from the pantry shelves for patrons who had checked what they wanted from a list of what was available.

Marie Rice, of the Clay County Senior Center and Meals on Wheels, and Fred Sickel, president of the Clay County Food Pantry, choose frozen chickens for Rice to deliver to some of the Meals on Wheels clients.

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