Hancock County teen raises turkeys, donates them to community Thanksgiving meal

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – A Hancock County teenager is doing her part to help provide a Thanksgiving meal to those in need.

Sixteen-year-old Bella Witte has volunteered with Feast of Plenty in the past, but this year she decided she wanted to make a difference in a different way.

“So, I live on a farm. When I thought about doing more, I was like well, this is Thanksgiving, turkeys,” Bella said.

Since July, Bella’s been raising turkeys. The nine turkeys she donated ended up being the biggest ones by far, enough to feed nearly 200 people.

“I didn’t realize how big this was going to be. I thought, 'Oh, I’m going to raise some turkeys and give them away’ and it was much bigger and it just kind of blew me away at how much I was able to help,” she said.

A building at the Hancock County Fairgrounds will be packed with people who otherwise wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving meal.  Drivers are delivering a meal to another 1,400 people who can’t make it.

“Thanksgiving is our chance to give back,” said Ty Hunt, a Feast of Plenty chef who's in charge of planning and prepping.

Hours before Thanksgiving Day, the kitchen looks more like an assembly line.

“We have a great group of volunteers that came in and pulled all the meat off of 108 turkeys in an hour and 15 minutes,” he said.

A woman named Lisa Muegge started this outreach 13 years ago. She died back in 2016 and this tradition continues in her memory.

“She was passionate for loving on people, not just Feast of Plenty day,” said Hunt.

It’s more than a meal--it’s the meaning behind the holiday and being thankful for what you have and having the heart to help others.

“If we just care about those around us, those that we meet that we don’t even know, we can have a better community and a better world,” said Hunt.

If you’re looking for a free Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, you can go to the Hancock County Fairgrounds, 620 N. Apple Street in Greenfield.

Meals will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Everyone is welcome.