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‘We put our heart into it’: Communities in the Big Sandy host free community Thanksgiving meals

More than 8,000 free Thanksgiving meals were distributed in both Pike and Floyd County.
More than 8,000 free Thanksgiving meals were distributed in both Pike and Floyd County.(WYMT)
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Appalachian Wireless Arena played host to One Church of Eastern Kentucky’s Sixth Annual Free Turkey Dinner. The event saw more than 8,000 meals distributed throughout the area.

“This year is a record-breaking number, around 8,400 people,” said the pastor of Liberty Freewill Baptist Church, Adam Akers. “Dinners are going out, dinners are served in house, and actually take out dinners.”

Around 300 volunteers came together to assist in the task from local churches, businesses, the Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association (CVMA), and more.

“This is a total community event that everybody comes together,” said Akers. “It’s not just churches, it’s different businesses and organizations.”

The volunteers were more than happy to ditch the traditional Thanksgiving dinner and give their time to a good cause.

“We put our heart into it at least once a year and the people are dedicated to us, we want to be dedicated to them,” said Appalachian Wireless Arena Assistant General Manager and CVMA Member Larry Miller. “It’s hard to do without bringing tears to your eyes, the people around here, they give so much when it comes to the arena and the churches, and it’s just nice to be able to give back.”

1,000 of the more than 8,000 meals assembled at the Appalachian Wireless Arena were distributed to the city of Prestonsburg in Floyd County which also organized their own free community meal at the Mountain Arts Center via a drive-through.

“We got this set up here at the MAC as a drive-through, we have our police and fire out delivering right now to the nursing homes, to the different homeless shelters,” said Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton.” Judge-Executive Robbie Williams is going as far as Maytown delivering some meals. We’re trying to get the meals out to the people that need them.”

Both officials in Pikeville and Prestonsburg say they hope next year’s free community Thanksgiving meals can grow and help even more folks throughout the community.

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