St. Mary’s donates 2 tons of frozen turkeys to those in need

December 9, 2021

Just before Thanksgiving, St. Mary’s Health Care System and its colleagues and volunteers donated 250 turkeys – weighing about 4,000 pounds – to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and the Greene County Food Pantry to help families in need this holiday season.

Each year, St. Mary’s partners with its food service provider, Metz Culinary, to give a free turkey to each colleague and volunteer as a token of appreciation for their dedication and service. During the weeks before Thanksgiving, St. Mary’s leaders personally hand out frozen turkeys at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital in Lavonia, and St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Greensboro, as well as at ancillary facilities in Athens, Bogart and Watkinsville.


St. Mary’s makes it easy for colleagues to donate their turkey to those in need, if they wish to do so, by letting Human Resources know they want to donate their turkey or by simply not picking it up. The Food Bank and Food Pantry pick up the donated turkeys in time to distribute them to families in need before the holiday.


“Every year I’m amazed and moved by the number of colleagues who choose to donate their turkey,” said Montez Carter, St. Mary’s President and CEO. “We are keenly aware that the pandemic has left many people struggling with food insecurity. We’re thrilled that so many colleagues and volunteers love getting these turkeys, and we’re just as thrilled that so many donate them to help others who are in need. It’s a true testament to our commitment to our core values.”


Of the 250 turkeys donated, 192 went to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia from St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens and St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital in Lavonia.


“St. Mary’s has gone above and beyond guiding and serving our region through unprecedented challenges to our public health, which is an incredible feat alone,” said Erin Barger, Food Bank of Northeast Georgia CEO. “They have gone the extra mile on behalf of our neighbors to bless hundreds of families through the donation of turkeys for Thanksgiving.”


Barger noted that the Food Bank continues to see higher-than-normal need. “God bless all of you and thank you for working through the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia to work toward ending food insecurity in Northeast Georgia,” she added.


Each year, the food bank provides more than 12 million pounds of food to families through around 200 soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers, churches and other non-profit hunger relief organizations in 14 counties: Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Jackson, Madison, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Rabun, Stephens, Towns and White.


In Greene County, colleagues and volunteers with St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital donated 58 turkeys to the Greene County Food Pantry. Since its founding in 2007, the charity has served more than 5,500 families – nearly 15,000 individuals – with each family receiving more than 30 pounds of feed each month. More than 30 percent of the Food Pantry’s clients are senior citizens living below the poverty level.


For more information about the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and the agencies with which it partners, visit For more information about the Greene County Food Pantry, visit


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