Bethel AME Church kicks off annual Thanksgiving basket distribution

Group photo of the student volunteers. Photo by Vanessa Ferguson

With fall in full effect and the holidays just around the corner, Bethel AME Church hosted its annual Thanksgiving basket distribution on Saturday in an effort to make sure that local families enjoy a traditional holiday meal on Thanksgiving Day. 

Bethel AME Church, located at 501 West Orange Ave., has distributed Thanksgiving baskets to deserving families for more than 30 years. This year, the fellowship hall at the church was filled with more than 100 volunteers by 5 a.m. Saturday morning.

Among them was Jaelore Faison, a sophomore Psychology student at Florida A&M University. 

“I packed greens in bags pretty early and got the chance to make connections with people. One lady kept telling me thank you and how much she needed this. Knowing that I made a difference touched me and made me smile,” said Faison. 

Greens weren’t the only item placed in the baskets. Each basket included a turkey, ham, stuffing, collard greens, cornbread mix, rice, black-eyed peas, and eight canned goods. Families also got the chance to receive a separate bag with a plethora of other food items.

Bethel congregation members that weren’t in attendance for today’s event received the opportunity earlier this month to help out with the Thanksgiving Basket Distribution as well with the “I ‘Can’ Help” drive where they donated non-perishable food items. 

Rev. Dr. Julius H. McAllister, Jr., senior minister of Bethel AME Church believes this event brings out all kinds of people. 

Student Jaelore Faison & Professor Kyle Harris stopped for a photo as they carried boxes. Photo by Vanessa Ferguson

“We have the opportunity to touch various generations from seniors to our youth. It is our singular goal to make sure that everyone ultimately has a great Thanksgiving as they reflect upon the year and thank God for the blessings he has given to all of us,” said McAllister. 

Bethel AME Church, whose motto is “called to make a difference,” distributed more than 300 baskets to families across the city of Tallahassee, Saturday morning, surpassing this year’s goal. 

2019 Thanksgiving Basket Distribution Chairman & coordinator, Connie Pye, whose been working for Bethel since 1979 says the goal for this year was 350 baskets.

“My favorite moment would have to be seeing people with happy faces coming in. They know what they’re going to do for Thanksgiving and how to feed their families,” said Pye. 

Volunteers say they hope to keep the giving spirit alive and well for the upcoming holidays.