A blessing of a turkey


Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 12:11 p.m.

A little more than 400 families needing a little help this Thanksgiving received free turkeys for their tables and food for the soul at the 3rd annual Thanksgiving Blessing Turkey Giveaway.

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A turkey is handed out during the giveaway. The Wilfork Foundation provided 700 turkeys.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian

Facts

MOUNT CARMEL BAPTIST CHURCH

Pastor: The Rev. Dr. N. LaMonte Newsome.
Location: 2505 NE 8th Ave.
Services: Sunday School is 9 a.m., morning worship is 10 a.m. Bible Expo is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and noon prayer is Thursday.
Phone: 352-378-7322.

The giveaway, which was held last Thursday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, was a collaborative effort that included a spiritual experience delivered during a community prayer spearheaded by the Rev. Dr. N. LaMonte Newsome, pastor of Mount Carmel, and turkeys provided by the Wilfork Foundation, founded by Bianca and Vincent Wilfork, a nose tackle for the New England Patriots. Bianca Wilfork is a former Gainesville resident who attended Alachua County Public Schools. The turkeys were transported here by the Cheney Brothers, an Ocala food distributor.

"We would be robbing God by not talking about the food of life," Newsome said. "Without the food of life, this food (the turkeys) would do us no good."

Newsome also read scripture from Luke 11. His topic was "the attitude of gratitude." "Jesus will give you the healing instantly," Newsome said. "He heals our body and our mind.

The giveaway began with members of the Mount Carmel Unity Choir leading the participants in the gospel song, "What A Mighty God We Serve." During the nearly one-hour long turkey distribution, Laura Newsome, first lady of Mount Carmel, and some church members, sang gospel. Deacon Eddie Cummings offered the prayer.

In his welcome, Newsome invited participants to visit Mount Carmel. "You're welcome at Mount Carmel any time," Newsome said. "Mount Carmel has loving and wonderful people with hearts open to the community. All you have to be is a child of God with a desire to have God in your life."

LaVern Porter, organizer of the giveaway, said the Wilfork Foundation provided 700 turkeys, which included a little more than 400 for the community at large and about 300 distributed to Alachua County Head Start families and area churches. She said the foundation also distributed turkeys in Orlando, Miami and Boston.

Porter said this year, vouchers were distributed beginning at 2 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis the day before. She said residents started lining up at 8:30 a.m. that day.

On the day of the giveaway, Newsome said residents also began lining up at 8:30 a.m., even though they already had vouchers. Distribution began at 2 p.m. that day.

"It shows the plight of the community," Newsome said. "They had a voucher, but they wanted to make sure. People are insecure and our job is to let people know God will always provide. Our mission is to lead people to hope."

Shirley McCrae, who received a turkey, said the turkey was truly a blessing for her family of five and the prayer was encouraging. "I enjoyed the prayer," said McCrae. "It was encouraging."

"They are feeding our body as well as our soul," said resident Latania Jackson.

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