Bea Gaddy. (Photo Courtesy of MD State Archives)

Inmates will once again help to prepare Thanksgiving turkeys for needy families, free of charge, for Baltimore’s Bea Gaddy Thanksgiving Feast. For over 25 years, inmates have assisted in this effort, according to a press release from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS).

The Bea Gaddy Thanksgiving Feast is a program of the Bea Gaddy Family Center, a homeless shelter and food pantry. In the past, the center has fed approximately 3,000 people on site, and sent out an additional 50,000 meals to people who cannot make it to the center.

Inmates employed by Maryland Correctional Enterprises, DPSCS’s prison industry program, will process and prepare the turkeys that have been donated for this year’s feast. The turkeys will be unloaded on Nov. 13 at the MCE Meat Plant at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown, and prepared on Nov. 18.

The meals will be distributed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, beginning at 11 a.m. According to Cynthia Brooks, executive director of the Bea Gaddy Family Center, there are currently 10,000 seniors awaiting food on that day, and another 4,000 persons will be fed on site. Each person fed, whether on site or via meal delivery, receives a total of five meals.

“This is our 34th annual Thanksgiving dinner, and the legacy of Bea Gaddy continues 13 years after her death,” said Brooks. “We’re looking to serve as many people as needed this year.”