DARLINGTON, SC. (WMBF) - Dr. David Eads said he began the Darlington turkey giveaway nearly 16 years ago alongside former NBA player Tom Hammonds.
Sixteen years later, people got in line starting at midnight to wait for their Thanksgiving meal.
They didn’t wait alone. Mayor Curtis Boyd began assisting with the giveaway a few years back, and last year he had an idea to help people fight the cold while in line.
His solution was hot chocolate. By 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, Boyd and others had heaters out along with hot cocoa for people to enjoy as they waited.
“It’s a blessing. God has blessed me and I try and return that back and give back to them those who are trying to get a meal for Thanksgiving, and it’s joy to share with them and keep them warm,” said Boyd.
Eads said it’s the help from people like Boyd and former MLB player Orlando Hudson. along with over 40 sponsors. who’ve helped this event grow.
On Tuesday, they served turkeys, drinks, and other foods to hundreds of people in roughly an hour. Eads said they’ve come a long way since the first giveaway 16 years ago.
“It was quite a scene. We hit some of the Christmas decorations with the truck coming in and had to go back to the store 10 times because we didn’t know how many people would show up,” said Eads.
Every year, Eads said they have more and more people reaching out to help with the event, which emphasizes how much people care about each other in the community.
“It shows Darlington does care about everybody, and we do have a good time with it and the people who are giving have just as much fun as the people waiting in line here. It’s become a tradition and we all enjoy it,” said Eads.