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Local church, restaurant continue Thanksgiving tradition to feed first responders

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 5:14 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Fellowship Community Church and Wildwood Smokehouse are teaming up for the second year to feed local first responders in what they call Operation Turkey Drop, created by a member of their church.

The church has been feeding first responders on Thanksgiving since 2003, but they got the inspiration long before that.

“Operation Turkey Drop started in the heart of a man named Bob Finck,” remembers Kevin Wilson, Pastor at Fellowship Community Church. “He had a daughter named Brenna. They were involved in a pretty terrible automobile accident when she was around two. They spent a lot of time in different hospitals and emergency rooms because of that. They’d always bring their food with them. One of the things he noticed was that on the holidays, a lot of the first responders didn’t get time off. So that really began in his heart the thought of ‘how can we serve these men and women who serve out community?’”

Wildwood Smokehouse is preparing meals for almost 700 first responders at 38 locations across the valley and the church is delivering to those locations throughout Thanksgiving week

“We’re all in this together,” said owner Steve Dill. “It’s a community effort. Everybody tries to do their part. We do as much as we can. We’re a small business and we just try to do what we can. Keep people happy, keep them happy and alive, and first responders are a big part of that. That’s why we’re more than happy to do this.”

“One of the things I love about the Valley, one of the things I love about being a pastor here is that we truly are all in this together,” says Wilson. “Whether it be a small business owner, whether it be a first responder, or whether it be our church body at large. We want to do everything we can to spread the love of Christ, and this is a great opportunity to do so.”

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