Thanksgiving meals have been available for those in need at the Clarksdale Care Station for close to 20 years, but things have changed with the communitywide effort through the years.
Volunteer Lori Burchfield reported there were 135 walk-ins at the Care Station on Thanksgiving Day and around 700 plates of food were handed out. She said, usually, more plates are given away and the volunteers budgeted for 1,200. The plates consist of turkey, dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, dessert and the Bible verse Psalm 100.
Burchfield said one reason for the decline is the Clarksdale/Coahoma County Chamber of Commerce no longer takes a list of names of individuals coming for plates, but the community will still benefit.
“The food that is left won’t go wasted,” she said. “They’ll get it Monday and Tuesday of next week here, plus get delivery.”
Members of the community showed gratitude toward everyone involved.
“God has been good to us,” said Clarksdale resident Paul Clark, who has been eating means at the Care Station for six years. “I am not going to preach this thing, but God’s been good to us. These people are working, challenge themselves to work hard and feed us. We give God the praise and give him the thanks.”
Events happened in his life that made efforts such as the one on Thanksgiving important in his life.
“I had some tragedy in my life and I’m old,” said Clark. “I’m 63 years old – heart attack, all these problems.”
Burchfield said volunteers arrive at 5:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day to prepare meals.
“We get all of our food through the hospital (Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center),” Burchfield said. “Sysco helps us and the dressing comes from Memphis, so we’re not here cooking all of it.”
Other volunteers arrived at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Burchfield appreciated those who have stepped up and helped through the years.
“It’s a very good thing because it doesn’t happen with one person or one group,” she said. “It’s the community effort.
“This is a community event. Volunteers show up to run it. It’s not a Care Station event. It’s not a Chamber event. It’s a community and everybody that loves.
“Families just come,” she said with a smile. “Same day, same place, same time every year.”
A community Thanksgiving fund is set up at Planters Bank. Anyone can make weekly, monthly or quarterly donations or just make a deposit. The fund goes toward the Thanksgiving Day meal.