Volunteers get ready for St. Matthew’s House Turkey Drop as need grows

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St. Matthew’s House volunteers were preparing Monday for the 16th annual Turkey Drop event on Thursday. (Credit: WINK News)

St. Matthew’s House plans to help struggling families make ends meet while celebrating Thanksgiving with its 16th annual Turkey Drop event on Thursday. Preparations for the event began on Monday.

The need in Southwest Florida continues to grow. When the Turkey Drop first started, it only gave out around 20 turkeys. This week’s Turkey Drop is expected to give out over 2,000. Sides and other Thanksgiving dishes will be donated as well.

All of this is to help vulnerable families in the community. St. Matthew’s House says it’s aware of how much greater this year’s need is because of the pandemic, which makes this event even more important.

“For a poor family or family that is struggling, the pandemic has caused them economically to struggle, and that, we were estimating, will last about two years for a lot of families that are on the margins,” said Vann Ellison, president of St. Matthew’s House. “They fall behind and catch up on rent or to get a new place after they’re evicted or to get caught up on bills.”

The event is made possible by donors and volunteers like Susie Mulry.

“Yeah, this is my 11th year,” she said, but it’s her first filling up boxes for families during a virus crisis.

The need is extraordinary. The volunteer response? Gratifying.

“The challenges with what the pandemic has brought, we need every single one of them and every single one of their helping hands today and every single dollar,” Mulry said.

“The more we can inspire friends in our community to join in and help others if we can, then that’s great,” said Bill Beynon.

He started this Thanksgiving effort to help families in need 16 years ago. His small gesture is now the annual Capital Wealth Advisors Turkey Drop.

“There was an announcement about St. Matthew’s House need for turkeys, so we stopped at Publix and bought 25 turkeys and that was the beginning and that turned into a plan which is now a tradition,” said Beynon, president and CEO of the financial advisory firm.

Every year, they work with St. Matthew’s House to hand out Thanksgiving fixings.

“We just feel like it’s part of our responsibility to help others,” he said.

Whether it’s taping boxes of placing cans, they’re determined to make Thanksgiving a happy one for as many families as possible.

The St. Matthew’s House will also host its annual turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day.
The turkey pickup will take place Thursday, Nov. 19, at the same location: First Baptist Church in Naples, 3000 Orange Blossom Dr., from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Frozen turkeys, canned goods or cash can be donated at 2601 Airport Rd. S. Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Online money donations can be given on the St. Matthew’s House website.

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