By Matt Wiley

Thanksgiving is a time of year when friends and families take time to get together and be thankful for each other and all that they have. It’s a time of year when it can be easy to forget that there are those who don’t have a family to go home and share a nice traditional Thanksgiving meal with, and there also are those in our area without even a home to go to.

It is for that reason that the Wesley Chapel Noon Rotary Club (see page 3) teamed up with Atonement Lutheran Church’s Helping Hands Pantry and Metropolitan Ministries to put on the club’s third annual “Turkey Gobble” to help feed the hungry, needy and homeless on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks to more than 50 volunteers, the “Gobble” was able to provide Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings to more than 200 people, both at Atonement, located on S.R. 54, but also around the community between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“People probably came from as far as three miles for a meal,” says Wesley Chapel Rotary president Greg Lenners, who also is the general manager of the Shops at Wiregrass mall. “We even had some volunteers take some meals to the Quail Hollow area, where there are some people living in the woods.”

Lenners says that a location change might have affected how many people came out for a meal, as the event had been held at the Wesley Chapel Dairy Queen, also located on S.R. 54, for the past two years.

“Last year, we served more than 350 (meals),” Lenners says. “So, we served a little less this year, but he event was still a big success.”

Meals consisted of all the traditional Thanksgiving favorites, including turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, vegetables, dinner rolls and, of course, pie.

“We definitely plan to keep the tradition going,” Lenners says. “Of course, we don’t want the event to grow. If anything, we want it to be smaller because that would mean that there are fewer people in need in the area, but we’re here to help as many people as we can.”

For more information about Atonement Lutheran’s Helping Hands Food Pantry, please call 973-2211, or, for Metropolitan Ministries, please call 209-1000 or visit For the Wesley Chapel Rotary, which meets Wednesdays at noon at Ciao! Italian Bistro in the Shops at Wiregrass mall, call 862-8989 or 391-3895.

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