Millswamp Longbeards donate 60 Thanksgiving turkeys

Published 10:06 am Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Millswamp Longbeards, a local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, donated 60 turkeys to residents served by Southampton County Department of Social Services. In front from left are recipients Inez Evans and Nannie Owney; and in back are chapter Treasurer David Nurney, recipient Kierra Barnes, County Human Services Assistant Jean Stephenson, chapter President Curtis Drake, recipient Hattie Pearson and chapter Banquet Chairman Larry Fowler.

COURTLAND—Inez Evans figured she’d be serving her standby — chicken — for Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner at her Courtland home.

Thanks to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Millswamp Longbeards, the 64-year-old is serving turkey.

Evans was among 60 people who received free turkeys on Monday from the Millswamp Longbeards, an NWTF chapter based in Southampton County. NWTF is a nonprofit organization that works for the conservation of the wild turkeys for hunting.

Recipients of the donated turkeys were chosen by Southampton County Department of Social Services.

Evans, who lives on Social Security, appreciated the gesture.

“I’m going to enjoy it with my family,” she said. “I was so glad because I didn’t know how I was going to buy one.”

Jean Stephenson, human services assistant with the County Department of Social Services, also appreciates the chapter’s efforts.

“It’s awesome,” Stephenson said. “Each year they have increased the number that they do. For a lot of families, when it comes to this time of year, they don’t have what we consider the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Having a turkey on the table is just symbolic.”

Larry Fowler, banquet chairman for the Millswamp Longbeards, said the chapter has been making the donations for about four or five years. The group’s 20 members buy the turkeys with proceeds raised during their annual dinner, which will be held Friday, Feb. 25, at Southampton County Fairgrounds.

“We do it to get the awareness that NWTF is here,” Fowler said. “We are community-oriented and want to help the community.”

The chapter also donated money for eight turkeys to the youth group at Newsoms Baptist Church, who used the birds to serve 90 meals to shut-ins.