Talking Turkey: Oakdale Church gives away nearly 300 birds for holiday meal

A quick check of the math – 288 turkeys, weighing at least 10 pounds each – adds up to 2,880 pounds of bird.

Russ Broome stands amid scores of grocery bags filled with fixin’s for Thanksgiving dinner.

On Nov. 17, Russ Broome stood at the food pantry door of Oakdale Baptist Church in Rock Hill, gazing at the stacked boxes of turkeys to be given away. He was deep in thought as he pondered the many people who would stand in line that autumn afternoon to receive a turkey along with a bag of groceries containing the fixin’s for Thanksgiving dinner.

Broome has one thought each time the pantry doors are open: “I wish we had more to give.”

Broome and his longtime fellow pantry workers, Sylvia Garrison and Mary Westmoreland, labor non-stop in the Oakdale food pantry ministry. They figure out how to stretch the available funds to feed the most families; they figure, refigure, shop, pick up donations and carefully pack each bag.

“Times are hard, and we just want to bless people” is the team’s motto, Broome said.

More than 300 people came that day to get a turkey. When the salvation message was presented by pastor Jerry Devinney, more than 80 hands were lifted in response.

Broome said the blessing for pantry workers is not only to see folks receive Thanksgiving food, but to see them receive the “bread of life” in salvation through Jesus.

Thanksgiving is over, but the food pantry workers at Oakdale Baptist Church are already working on trying to reopen the doors in time for Christmas.


– Shugart is ministries administrator at Oakdale Baptist Church.

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Article by: Lisa Shugart, Special to the Courier