Annual turkey giveaway helps ‘neighbors in need’

(Featured photo: Members of the Rosa T. Beard Debutante Club help load turkeys into cars during the annual turkey giveaway Nov. 20. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News)

Although the Godfather of Soul isn’t here to be part of the annual turkey giveaway in his name, the presence of James Brown was obvious Nov. 20.

A oversized poster of The Hardest Working Man in Show Business helped direct traffic for the drive-through giveaway in the parking lot of the arena that bears his name. And volunteers danced and sang to the James Brown songs such as I Feel Good, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag and Living in America.

An oversized poster of James Brown helped direct traffic at the turkey giveaway Nov. 20. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

“Thirty-two years of serving our community and looking out for our neighbors in need,” said Deanna Brown-Thomas, the daughter of the late singer. “We are so thankful for our sponsors and volunteers.”

The Golden Harvest Food Bank has been partnering with the James Brown Family Foundation for four years to provide side dishes for the Thanksgiving meal.

What went into the non-perishable food box varied, according to Abby Muehlfeld, the food bank’s vice president of marketing.

 “These are donated food items that came from It’s Spooky to Be Hungry,” she said.

 Boxes could’ve included items such as pasta, canned meats, canned soups, macaroni and cheese and canned vegetables. Each box contained 42 pounds of food, and boxes for 210 families were prepared, totaling 8,820 pounds of food.

Several groups of volunteers including members of the Rosa T. Beard Debutante Club and the Laney Pearls helped load turkeys and boxes of non-perishable food into people’s cars as they made it through the line.

The Rev. Cheryl Beard, CEO of the Rosa T. Beard Debutante Club, said helping out each year is important for the teenage girls who are part of the group. About 30 members of the group volunteered.

“This helps build community,” she said.

Deanna Brown-Thomas takes a photo. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

The turkey giveaway is the first community-wide event the James Brown Family Foundation takes part in during the holiday season. The annual toy giveaway is scheduled for Dec. 16 inside the James Brown Arena.

“This will be the last toy giveaway in the arena,” said Brown-Thomas. “The last three years haven’t been in the arena because of the pandemic. We are thankful to Augusta for voting yes (for a new arena).”

Registration for the toy giveaway will be Dec. 2 and 9. For more information, visit the James Brown Family Foundation website here.’

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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