The owners of Peppermill restaurant, Ling-Feng Tang and Glenn Kersh, started the event known as Turkey Fest in 2002 to help the hungry during the holiday season.
After raising $7,000 for area food pantries last year, they are now gearing up for the fourth annual Turkey Fest, to be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.
Area politicians; county officials; television, radio and newspaper personalities; and community leaders will don aprons and serve the public a traditional Thanksgiving meal at the Evans restaurant to help raise money for Golden Harvest Food Bank and Columbia County Cares food pantry.
"This year, we are just trying the best we can," Tang said. "I hope we can do like last year because this has been kind of a crazy year. We still hope (to raise) $7,000 to $8,000. I hope we can meet that goal."
Donations will be accepted at The Peppermill, 4461 Washington Road, and in return the restaurant will provide a meal of turkey, dressing, gravy, green beans, homemade cranberry-orange relish, hot rolls and a drink.
All money raised will be split between Golden Harvest and Columbia County Cares.
"Events like Turkey Fest are invaluable to us, not only because of the money raised, but because of the exposure we get," said Laurie Harmon, a Golden Harvest volunteer and the events coordinator. "Who knows how many people might attend Turkey Fest that really didn't know anything about the food bank? They might become involved through volunteering, donating money or conducting food drives some time in the future."
Golden Harvest distributed 9.6 million pounds of food to needy families in 25 counties last year through partner agencies such as churches with soup kitchens or food pantries, and community nonprofit groups with feeding programs, Harmon said.
Because the food bank can buy $7 worth of food with each donated dollar, "the money raised can be stretched quite a long way," Harmon said.
Tang and Kersh started out collecting $1,500 at the first Turkey Fest in 2002. Tang said she's excited to see the growth of the project, which started out as a way to give back to the community.
"We still have a lot of people that care about other people," Tang said. "Everybody tries to help."
People can give as much as they want.
For more information, call The Peppermill at 855-1344 or Harmon at 736-1199, ext. 208.
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