Debbie Shirley, left, along with other volunteers, help hand out boxed turkey dinners Saturday afternoon at Gordon Sports Complex on Willie Pitts Jr. Road as part of the community holiday meals outreach program hosted by the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office.
ALBANY — Escalade or beat-up Ford pickup, community members driving on Willie Pitts Jr. Road had a to-go meal served to them between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday.
Volunteers and Dougherty County Sheriff’s deputies handed out packaged holiday meals of Turkey, dressing, rice, cranberry sauce and other holiday food items to smiling motorists.
It all fit in with Sheriff Kevin Sproul’s philosophy of one community working, living and communicating together.
“We like to show our appreciation to the community,” Sproul said. “We have made so many cases because of community cooperation.”
Last year, the holiday meal program gave 1,000 meals to the community, said Lt. Terron Hayes. This year the number could go as high as 1,200,” he said.
The holiday meal effort had a tent at Gordon Sports Complex where packaging was handled after the portions cooked at the jail had arrived. Originally the food was to be dispensed in the park. A lower than expected turnout moved the event to plan B — curb service.
Tables, white Styrofoam boxes of holiday meals, ice chests and sodas were moved to the street’s side. Deputies handled traffic as it pulled up. Any inconvenience lasted less than a minute.
“We have to switch when the plan needs it,” Hayes said. “Later, we’ll go across the street to the apartments and the neighborhood to give out anything we have left.”
Deputies and volunteers from Omega Psi Phi’s alumni ranks and its high school mentoring program, Omega Men of Excellence Little Brothers happily took orders from drivers at the improvised car stop.
“That’ll be three meals, two Pepsi and a Sprite,” one Omega man called out to his fellows. He handed the food order to a driver and said, “Merry Christmas. The Sheriff appreciates you.”
The driver of a tan SUV smiled and said, “We appreciate the sheriff too.”
With little time to talk while he was carrying boxes, meals and operating as a general back of the house supplier Joseph Mathis gave his reason for helping as an Omega Man Little Brother.
“Not everybody has the connection at the holiday,” Mathis said. “Not everyone has the American dream of holiday meals. So it is nice that we can make a community connection here.”