FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Fort Drum started off the holiday season with free turkeys.
On November 16, Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes hosted its 13th Annual Turkeys for Troops. An event that distributes free Thanksgiving meals to soldiers and families who live on the Army installation.
“This is so important to be able to give back to our soldiers and our families,” FDMCH Director of Property Management Jenna Waite said. “They give so much and a lot of our soldiers and families can’t go home for the holidays.”
As Waite said, many soldiers are far from family members and will celebrate Thanksgiving in the North Country.
Turkeys for Troops provides a way for these servicemembers to connect with the local community.
“I got a friend down the road and we’re actually going to do Thanksgiving together, like a Friendsgiving,” Specialist Denver White, a 652nd Engineer said. “It feels good to have a free turkey for Thanksgiving. You can’t beat that.”
This year, FDMCH partnered with New Visions Hotels and local grocers to provide 200 meals. Along with the turkeys, soldiers were given ingredients to make many popular holiday sides.
All to also help alleviate some financial burdens.
Staff Sergeant Christopher Carnel, a soldier with the 3-10 General Aviation Support Battalion attended the event with his three children.
It’s a big deal because Thanksgiving is one of those things you have to do. So having food and extra food is a good thing for a family,” SSG Carnel expressed. “Financially, it helps a lot. It helps a whole lot. We are so used to Campbell and Tennessee stuff. New York is a little bit more expensive for us. So with this just helped us out a lot.”
Families were chosen for the turkey giveaway on a random lottery.