In a year, where distance is the norm, River Church wanted to make sure community members didn't feel alone.

"People need love and need to know they’re appreciated in some way, so the least we can do is give them something to celebrate and be thankful for," said Carlos Antunez, the River Church outreach director.

What You Need To Know

  • For the 16th year, River Church gave away 500 turkeys to community members

  • They say this year was crucial to making people feel less lonely because of COVID restrictions limiting family gatherings

  • Church members say they're filling community members spiritually and physically

For the past 15 years, River Church has handed out 500 turkeys the week before thanksgiving. This year, they say continuing the tradition was crucial.

"This year more than ever it was important for us to do this and do this in a way that’s safe. But we also wanted to make sure because of what’s going on with COVID we wanted to really make sure our presence known and people who love and care for them," said Dan Allen, River Church pastor.

With COVID restrictions limiting the size of gatherings, they say they want people to know they’re not alone.

"We social distance, but we don’t have to social disconnect. We can still connect with each other. Not only do we give out free turkeys, we give out free love through prayer," said Antunez.

They say they’re goal is to fill people with food and love and prayer, as their faith encourages them to do.

And while this year’s turkey giveaway looks different, one thing that remains the same is love for every community member.

"We should follow the steps of Jesus that we should be able to love everyone. No matter what their economic status or cultural status no matter who they are," said Allen.

River Church also holds monthly food pantries, and they have a toy giveaway planned for the Christmas holiday.