One of the event’s co-coordinators, Barbara Fulbright, said the event was started by the Canton First United Methodist Church congregation and now involves churches from across the county that come together to put on the big event.
Fulbright said the program is still looking for volunteers to help with the massive event this Thursday.
“Our biggest need right now is in the early afternoon, from about 12:30 until about 3:30 p.m., when we do our clean up and put the church back how we found it,” Fulbright said. “That’s the biggest need.”
Cherokee Thanksgiving volunteers spend days preparing the food after weeks of preparation for the event. Volunteers from many different churches come together to cook, serve and deliver Thanksgiving meals and to clean up after.
Those who are planning to dine at the church Thursday are asked to arrive after noon. A hot meal will be provided to a couple hundred people who want to dine at the church, and hundreds more meals will be delivered to people in need and employees who can’t have Thanksgiving dinner, like firefighters and convenience store workers, organizers said.
Those who would like to volunteer can email the coordinators at CTvolunteer2013@gmail.com, Fulbright said.
“We try to be super organized and know how many people we need in each spot, we try not to take more volunteers than we need so that we actually have people doing something when they get to the church,” Fulbright said. “We want to be real aware of their time.”
Another co-coordinator of the event, Cheryl Mosley, said the food started arriving Friday night in preparation of the big day.
Mosley has been volunteering with the organization for about 10 years and has co-coordinated it for about eight.
“Literally every day the entire week through Thursday, somebody is going to be at the church, prepping,” Mosley said. “Monday night, about 50 pans of cornbread will be made, Tuesday gingerbread cake for every person will be made — about 28 sheet cakes — and then biscuits are made also on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the turkey prep begins. … There’s 135 turkeys.”
Mosley said all sorts of youth groups, from local schools and Scout troops, help with the preparation.
“We start delivering around 10 a.m. We go to our furthest route, which is up in Jasper, then work our way back in and finish up,” Mosley said. “We have 35 areas we deliver to.”
Fulbright, Mosley and fellow co-coordinator Lorri-Ann Brogdon, make volunteering a family event.
Fulbright said her family has been participating in the Thanksgiving event for eight years.
“The kids are able to help with preparing the food, like packaging the small cranberry serving sections, they help with canned green beans, they actually stir food, they help pack the cars, they do a variety of things,” Fulbright said. “We encourage people with small kids to sign up as a family and deliver meals. That way kids can participate and then they’re not in danger of being in the kitchen while we’re moving hot pans of food around, and that sort of thing.”
Mosley said her family is involved and Brogdon’s son helps with the event as well.
Mosley said the organization checks with previous recipients of the Cherokee Thanksgiving food to see if they need meals this year, and anyone in need can still register.
Anyone who would like to sign up to receive food on Thanksgiving Day can do so by calling (770) 877-2132, and leaving a message with their name, contact number and address, or by emailing CTmeals2013@gmail.com, Fulbright said.