Charleston community comes together to give back for Thanksgiving

Members of the Charleston community came together to give back to those in need. (Courtesy: WSAZ)
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ)-- For many, Thanksgiving might mean stuffing turkeys and watching football. For others, it is the best time to give back. Today at the Frank Veltri Thanksgiving dinner, volunteers piled in to the First Baptist Church on Shrewberry Street. Volunteers arrived as soon as 5 a.m. to shred turkeys and hams.

"Frankie was about giving so that's what we want to do. We want to give and help people to stay," said Cynthia Parsons, the kitchen coordinator.
Frank Veltri started this dinner more than 50 years ago. A number of volunteers had been coming and helping with the dinner for over 20 years.

"Frank started this in the old Holly Hotel then we moved to the basement over on Hill Street. That's where I started," said Dan Taylor, a volunteer.

"But Frank cares about everybody. He cared about Charleston, he cared about the people in Charleston, and he saw this as a way of giving back to the community."

Because of an endowment left by Frank himself, the dinner can go on for many years without the need to raise funds for the event. The only thing that gets donated each year are the drinks. Everything else is taken care of by the endowment fund, managed by The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.

One thing that separates this dinner from the rest is its delivery service. In addition to having a sit down meal, meals are also delivered to different terraces in Charleston. And according to multiple volunteers, this was all apart of Frank's philosophy, "to give away the food until there was nothing left".

Today 17 turkeys, 40 hams and 97 pounds of gravy were all apart of today's meal.