Sarah Wells, executive director of Good Samaritan Ministries, and Little Miss Tennessee Kaylee Hollifield
Ten-year-old Kaylee Hollifield of Elizabethton, the reigning Little Miss Tennessee and first runner up in this year’s national Little Miss title, delivered nearly four times her weight in turkey to Good Samaritan Ministries on Wednesday.
Her best hope is that the 20 14-pound turkeys she contributed to the ministry’s Thanksgiving food outreach will serve a dual purpose — provide the holiday meal for those who are less fortunate and inspire others who are able to help do so as well.
“A little goes a long way. I think even a penny would make a difference,” she said.
Kaylee purchased the turkeys with money she earned in a recent garage sale at her dad’s auto detailing shop in Elizabethton.
Her plan was to use the money she made from selling the toys and clothing she has outgrown to “help the homeless and less fortunate” and her first charitable thought was to buy blankets to give to people in need of warmth.
But as her mom made the calls to check on the need at local charities, she said, she found out Good Samaritan needed turkeys for Thanksgiving and the deal was sealed.
Her turkeys will be among those that will begin going out Monday to 1,400 area families in need of food for the holiday.
In addition to the family food boxes, the ministry will also be delivering prepared holiday meals to 200 seniors and disabled veterans who are unable to cook.
Ministry Director Sarah Wells said the total cost of the food distribution is $65,000 and about $18,000 of that total was still outstanding Wednesday, making Kaylee all the more meaningful.
“We’ll have all the food they need for that day with some things left over for the days after that, plus some gifts we have for them,” Wells said.
“We’ll be giving it out here Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., if anyone would like to come. And on Wednesday we’ll have ride-alongs as we go out to deliver the meals that are for seniors and disabled veterans who can’t cook.”
Gift wrapping for Christmas will begin the week after Thanksgiving at Good Samaritan. And Kaylee promised Wells she would return to help Good Samaritan’s Christmas party for children who have parents who are incarcerated.
But for now the ministry’s focus remains on turkeys and trimmings for next week’s holiday and the 113 families that remain on its Thanksgiving food waiting list.
For those who wish to help, turkeys remain at the top of the ministry’s wish list. Food donations may be dropped off at the Good Samaritan building at 100 N. Roan St., Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Or, a $35 donation earmarked for “Thanksgiving Food” will cover the cost of a turkey and food box for a family or prepared holiday meal delivered to the home of someone who will not be able to cook.
Donations may be made online at goodsamjc.org or by mail to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605-2441.
Those who wish to volunteer are invited to call the ministry at 928-1958 for information.