Volunteers aim to feed victims of Hurricane Matthew

Thursday, November 24, 2016
Operation Turkey is feeding thousands in the Sandhill
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Operation Turkey is feeding thousands in the Sandhill and getting holiday meals to flood victims.

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- They are cooking a Thanksgiving meal to feed the homeless and less fortunate on Thursday, and that includes all those left homeless by Hurricane Matthew.

Volunteers say "anyone" who needs a hot meal Thursday is invited to this feast.

For Roland Rochester, cooking more than 200 turkey is a labor of love and thanks.

Thousands of turkeys will help brighten the holiday for those in need in Fayetteville and Lumberton.

"I have been here since Monday night," said Rochester, a volunteer.

On Thursday, volunteers plan to hand out more than 4,000 turkey dinners with all the trimmings.

"We got turkey, stuffing mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, pies, cranberry sauce -- a good old Thanksgiving," said volunteer Willie Rochester.

It's called "Operation Turkey." Fayetteville is one of 10 cities and 11 states across the country feeding the homeless and less fortunate.

Volunteers say it's a huge challenge, especially this year.

"With Hurricane Matthew, it increased the need to have a meal," said Venassia Gunter of Operation Turkey. "We have a lot of people in Lumberton that lost a lot of what they had, so here in Fayetteville, we will do 3,000 plates, and in Lumberton, we will do 1,000 plates."

On Wednesday night, the rush was on as volunteers peeled and chopped more than 1,000 pounds of potatoes, opened dozens of cans of yams, and filled thousands of small cups with cranberry sauce.

They will hand out plates at four locations around downtown Fayetteville. They will also deliver to shut-ins -- anyone they say that needs a meal. Despite the long hours the volunteers have put in to making this feast, they wouldn't spend Thanksgiving doing anything else.

"That's what God wants us to do help each other support each other, everybody," Gunter said. "God has a purpose for each of us, and I feel like helping people is my purpose."

The Fayetteville feeding sites include "Spivey Recreation Center" on Old Wilmington Road, right in one of the harder-hit neighborhoods, and at a couple of places on Person Street.

In the meantime, the cooking continues into the wee hours of the morning, when an assembly line of volunteers begins making the plates of food, and we all have a newfound appreciation for our neighbors and community friends this Thanksgiving.

For complete information on all the locations, and a phone number for ordering delivery meals, see the list below:


Mike's Car Wash

Eastern Blvd

Spivey Recreation Center

Old Wilmington Road

Two locations on Person Street

Near the Market House, and by the Greyhound Bus Station.



Sandy Grove Baptist Church

Martin Luther King Drive


Delivery orders can be phoned in to (682) 226-2724.

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