Thanksgiving may still be a long way off, but several area organizations already have something for which to be thankful.
A number of area 4-H members are donating turkeys to certain places in the area. Among them is the Richland Place/PATH Center, Defiance, which has received three so far and would welcome more.
Many of the turkeys were donated to the youth initially by Cooper Farms. Although Cooper has provided the PATH Center with turkeys in the past, PATH program manager Susan Cheeseman does not recall seeing any direct donations from 4-H before.
“Not specifically 4-H turkeys,” she said. “That just happened.”
It’s not unusual to have meat donated to the PATH Center throughout the year. Cheeseman compared the current experience to that of deer season, when hunters may donate venison. Additionally, other donors such as Ayersville Local Schools also have donated birds to the cause.
One specific donor this year is Fairview High School sophomore Kaycie Betz of Mark Center, who found herself with more turkeys than she knew what to do with.
“Cooper Farms gave five turkeys to anyone who wanted to take a turkey to the (Defiance County) fair,” said Betz, who is part of the Farmer Agriculturists 4-H Club. “I raised five turkeys, I took two to the fair, and I had three left over.”
What to do with three turkeys not destined for the fair? Ultimately, Betz donated one turkey each to the PATH Center, the Toledo Ronald McDonald House (utilized by her family when her brother, Michael, had been a patient in Toledo at one time) and Kaitlyn’s Cottage in Defiance.
“It’s perfect that we have a turkey now,” said Kelly Tong of Kaitlyn’s Cottage, “(but) when she rang the doorbell with it, we had no idea it would be as big as it was.” Tong estimated the turkey Betz brought along weighed in the neighborhood of 25 pounds.
Tong added that Kaitlyn’s Cottage usually brings all the fixings in for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, which is usually held a few days before the holiday. “Most of our participants have holidays with their families,” she said.
“We’ll use (the turkeys) for our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals,” said Cheeseman. “If we get too many, they can be given away or used throughout the year.”
Meanwhile, Betz is taking comfort in opting against the most obvious solution to a problem with surplus turkeys which she had raised.
“I didn’t want to eat them,” she said. “I would have gotten too emotional about it.”