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First Church donates turkeys for veterans in need

A local church continues the tradition of providing holiday meals for veterans served by Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services Program

SARASOTA, Fla. – As it has for a number of years, First Church has brightened the holidays for veterans in need. Church members – led by missions chair Peggy Hite – contributed 45 turkeys as well as a big box of side dishes for veterans served by Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services program. The food was distributed to area veterans in mid-November.

“Many of us believe that there is so much we need and should do for veterans’ programs,” said Hite. “A number of us are older, many have served in the Armed Services, and we support that part of our government’s mission. So many veterans return from service with PTSD and other issues; we appreciate the things that Goodwill does for our country’s returning heroes.”

Since the holiday food donations to Goodwill's Veterans Services Program have begun, First Church has typically donated hams for Easter as well.

“It is always such an amazing day when we are giving the turkeys out to our veterans – you see the burden of providing such a big meal taken off their shoulders,” said Todd Hughes, American Veterans and Their Families program manager. “We are all so grateful to First Church for supporting our veterans during the holidays in such a wonderful way.”

During the turkey distribution, the Veterans Services team also gave out care packages and hand-written cards from a local youth group.

Goodwill’s American Veterans and Their Families program works to help eliminate barriers to employment, provide opportunities for higher-paying positions for veterans and their families, and connect veterans with needed social services. It also offers plentiful networking opportunities and emergency financial assistance – which is particularly important as already at-risk veterans face continuing challenges related to the pandemic, economy, and recent storms.

For more about Goodwill, visit

PHOTO ID: Goodwill Manasota Veterans Services team member Randy Wright (left) and program manager Todd Hughes load turkeys and sides into cars during Goodwill’s turkey giveaway event

About Goodwill Manasota

Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit or call 941-355-2721.

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