Martinsburg Church donates 575 turkeys to local agencies

Now in its eighth year, Operation Thanks is an effort of The Church at Martinsburg to provide frozen turkeys to accompany meals that local agencies prepare and distribute to local families in the Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

On Saturday, November 20, the church surpassed its goal of 400 turkeys, collecting 575 turkeys. Church attenders and members gathered at the church’s location at 50 Monroe St. in Martinsburg to collect frozen turkeys for a final count before distributing them to local agencies. Operation Thanks is a way for the church to connect with a growing and expanding community, and is one of the church’s biggest events of the year.

The project was developed to participate in the mission of Jesus by giving generously and practically, and is a way to partner with locally based organizations to serve the city.

“We recognize that people have real needs in our community and we desire to help where help is actually needed as opposed to helping where we perceive help is needed,” AJ Roberts, associate pastor said. “Each year, through our local partnerships, we continue learning of folks that go without and Operation Thanks is a great opportunity for our body to help meet some of the real needs that are found here in Martinsburg. We love this city and are committed to serving the people around us for the joy of our neighbor and the fame of Jesus.”

Since 2009, more than 2,500 turkeys have been donated to families in the Eastern Panhandle. After turkeys are “tagged” by church members to explain who donated the turkey, they are then loaded into vehicles and distributed throughout the Eastern Panhandle. This year, several local organizations benefited from the turkeys, including City of Hope Church, Closet of Hope at West View Baptist Church, CCAP Loaves and Fishes, Boys and Girls Club, Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission, and Young Lives.

“This year we utilized our Community Groups as we took Operation Thanks a step further,” Drew Broadhurst, Local Missions Volunteer leader for the church said. “Each group leader will keep one turkey the day of the event and that group will then meet together to cook it, prepare it, and deliver meals to a local Fire, Police, or Emergency Medical Service in our region. We see it as our opportunity to serve those who serve us on a regular basis.”

Scott Keifer, a church member and veteran participant of OperationThanks, marked his fifth year helping with the event.

“It has become one of those events that we always look forward to on the calendar,” Keifer said. “We love getting together with the rest of our church family to serve the city. I particularly enjoy delivering the turkeys to the agencies and seeing how thankful some of the people who receive them are.”

The church began in 2009, first meeting in a home in Berkeley County. Since then, it has grown to over 400 in weekly attendance and moved into their current location on Martinsburg’s northside in March of 2015. Services are held each Sunday at 9:15 and 11:00 a.m.

The Church at Martinsburg will host their Christmas Eve service at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 24 and their Christmas Day service on Sunday, December 25 at 11 a.m. at 50 Monroe St. in Martinsburg. Members of the community are invited to attend, even if they do not currently have a church home. Child care for children to age 5 is available.

For more information about the Church at Martinsburg, visit

Photo: Volunteers from the Church at Martinsburg help unload 168 turkeys at CCAP Loaves and Fishes on Saturday, November 19.