A local church wanted to make sure that area residents were prepared for Thanksgiving by giving away turkeys and Thanksgiving bags. The church’s annual Thanksgiving giveaway was held Saturday.

About 500 turkeys and Thanksgiving bags were given away.

“Over 30 years ago, Key Memorial Methodist Church started the tradition of providing Thanksgiving baskets for the clients who visited their food pantry,” Debora Allison said in an email. “At that time the pantry was known as Key Care Mission. When the church closed, the pantry was adopted by Grand Central Station and the name was changed to The Green House, which had been our nick-name, because the pantry is located in a house that happens to be painted green.”

Allison is a volunteer co-director at Grand Central Station’s “Green House.”

“When our Green House clients started asking about whether or not there would be Thanksgiving baskets, I asked my church council at Trinity Lutheran, if we might possibly take on this annual event,” she said. “They agreed.”

This was Trinity Lutheran’s third year distributing the baskets.

Numbered Thanksgiving vouchers were given out to Green House clients beginning four months before the distribution.

“Clients brought their vouchers on distribution day to pick up their baskets, which aren’t really baskets,” Allison said. “Rather they are grocery bags containing 18 food items, along with a frozen turkey, that can be used to make their own Thanksgiving meal.”

The first year, the church assembled 250 meals and provided a frozen chicken. This year the church distributed 500 meals. While the Green House and Trinity Lutheran partnered for the food giveaway, an event that was really a community outreach.

“Braum’s donated 500 handled grocery bags,” Allison said. “Home Depot loaned us a pallet jack to move food. Turkeys donated by an anonymous donor were ordered from the Denison Walmart. Kroger and Albertson’s helped by bailing all our cardboard boxes. Sherman and Gunter High schools sent teams of National Honor Society students to help in assembling and distributing bags.”

Trinity will not be giving away turkeys for Christmas, but the church does host its own Christmas toy drive for area children.