Pittsboro, NC – On November 25, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office held its 18th Annual Thanksgiving Meal Drive for senior residents and families in need across Chatham County. For nearly two decades, deputies have reached out to local businesses to gather canned food, baked goods, and traditional Thanksgiving meal items, like turkey and stuffing, ahead of the special day. On Thanksgiving morning, staff members gather to prepare hot meals and personally deliver each one to deserving residents across the county.
Some deputies visit with elderly citizens who are ill or home-bound, many of which have no children or family to visit with them during the holidays. Others spend time with disabled men and women, disadvantaged children, or Veterans. As a result of this outreach, hundreds of Chatham County citizens have enjoyed a warm, delicious meal on Thanksgiving Day.
Recipients are identified and selected based on need by members of the Chatham County Council on Aging, Department of Social Services, and Lutheran Services of the Carolinas. This year’s local food donors include Food Lion (of Siler City, Pittsboro and Governor’s Club), Walmart (of Siler City and Chapel Hill), Lowes Foods, Piggly Wiggly, and Rufus’ Restaurant of Goldston. The event would not be possible without the generous support of the community.
“It’s one of our favorite events at the Sheriff’s Office. Many of our staff members participate year after year,” says Lieutenant Sara Pack, who has personally participated since she first joined the Sheriff’s Office. She says it has become an annual tradition for her family as well.
“I started bringing my mom along for visits in 2015, and my son has joined us the last two years,” Pack explains. “It’s a special time for us to spend giving back to the community together. We have formed some amazing relationships through meal deliveries and we look forward to seeing the same faces each year. They have truly become family to us.”
It is an emotional experience for meal recipients as well, especially if they have no other visitors on Thanksgiving. One resident was so moved by the gesture that he called to leave a message for the deputies who came to visit.
“Even though I live alone and don’t really have any family and my health is very poor, I have something to be thankful for today—that is people like the two officers who just came by my house and dropped off a meal for me,” he says in the recording. “I really commend them for giving up their time to help people like me.”
“That kind of feedback really melts your heart and reinforces the importance of this kind of outreach,” says Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson. “It is a truly humbling experience to be invited into residents’ homes on Thanksgiving. It’s also rewarding to see deputies so deeply moved that they want to involve their family members in the spirit of giving. We are always honored to give back, from our family to yours, in any way we can.”