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4-H Kids Prepare Turkeys for Homeless

November 19, 2000|JOSH GOLDSTEIN

For the last five years, 4-H Club mom Sally McNeilan has referred to her house as "turkey central" around Thanksgiving.

McNeilan, her family and members of the Foothill 4-H Club spend the week before the holiday preparing a few hundred pounds of turkey to help provide a Thanksgiving dinner for the area's homeless.

Members of the service organization spent Saturday finishing their cooking and deboning and packaging about 30 turkeys at the McNeilan house. The food will be passed out Thursday by the Salvation Army.

"My kids work on it all week," McNeilan said. "The whole house smells like turkey for days."

The large birds, along with stuffing, vegetables and dessert, will be served to homeless people from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Salvation Army's Transitional Living Center, 155 S. Oak St., in downtown Ventura.

Each year, McNeilan and other 4-H members receive donated turkeys from members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Ventura.

McNeilan coordinates with neighbors, church members and other 4-H parents to use their refrigerators and ovens.

McNeilan also turns the event into an educational experience for the kids, making them calculate cooking time and learn about good community relations.

Jeffrey McNeilan, 12, who has helped cook hundreds of turkeys since he was 7, said he has had about enough of turkeys once the holiday arrives.

"It just doesn't smell that great after 30 turkeys have gone through your kitchen," Jeffrey said with a laugh. "We'll probably just have hot dogs for Thanksgiving dinner."

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