250 Turkeys

Today, Westporters sit down to holiday meals. We’ll give thanks for all we have.

A few miles away, dozens of others will enjoy a holiday meal too. They can thank a lucky decision, a few phone calls, and some very generous men and women.

A couple of weeks ago, Gillian Anderson drove her husband to Bridgeport Hospital for a pre-op test.

As she waited, she had an idea: call nearby Summerfield Methodist Church to say hi.

The United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston often partners with Summerfield, with donations of clothing and food. Gerry Nelson — the administrative assistant to Pastor Herron Gaston — told Gillian that their annual Thanksgiving meal offering to the community was in jeopardy. They were 80 turkeys short of their 200 target.

Gillian contacted members of both her church and club: Westport Rotary. Quickly, they made plans to provide the birds.

Just as quickly, promises of turkey donations — and Venmo cash — to buy more poured in, from United Methodist church members and Rotarians.

Gillian Anderson and turkeys, at United Methodist Church.

Gillian headed to Stop & Shop. In the checkout line with a dozen turkeys, she chatted with the man ahead, and his young daughter. Inspired, he paid for 3 turkeys.

A Rotary friend was in line behind Gillian. She bought 4. The spontaneous generosity allowed Gillian to buy more.

By Sunday 50 turkeys had been donated or bought, and put in the fridge.

The next morning, the number grew. Gillian, fellow Rotarians and congregants soon delivered 72 turkeys — plus 80 servings of stuffing mix and rice — to Summerfield Methodist Church.

Gerry Nelson, with some of Summerfield’s turkey dinners …

Meanwhile, indefatigable organizer Gerry Nelson was working her own magic. Thanks to her diligence, and that of Gillian and her crew, Summerfield far surpassed their goal.

Today, 250 Bridgeport families will enjoy a hearty holiday meal. Thanks to all who helped!

… and Summerfield church members, helping out.

4 responses to “250 Turkeys

  1. The Lords Work

  2. And THIS is what the true meaning of Thanksgiving is all about. Sharing our abundance with others. Thank you for this post Dan. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. What a heart warming story

  4. There’s a happy family postscript to this story. I am Gillian’s husband Tom and after the pre-op tests at Bridgeport Hospital I had my aortic valve replaced I am feeling well enough today to travel to Manhattan with Gillian and eat one of the turkeys she didn’t give away with our daughter and her family. Happy Thanksgiving to an extremely generous community.

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