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Louise Mandrell in Middletown

Country Music's Mandrell helps needy

Appearance part of turkey drive for 'Dare to Care'

By Helen McKinney
Contributing Writer

MIDDLETOWN, Ky. (January 2004) – Mark Metry, owner of Metry’s on Main Jewelry Shoppe, said he is indebted to the community of Middletown after having hosted a successful frozen turkey drive Dec. 14 for the “Dare to Care Food Bank” of Louisville, featuring country music star Louise Mandrell.

Louise Mandrell

Photo by Don Ward

Louise Mandrell poses with (from left) Ron Wolf of Mayor Jerry Abramson's office; Middletown Mayor Byron Chapman, and event organizer Mark Metry.

Mandrell, of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., appeared for the afternoon outside Metry’s store and signed autographs for people who donated a frozen turkey.
Metry said this event has “profoundly changed me.” Due to community support and Mandrell’s persistence, Metry was able to collect more than 600 frozen turkeys to help feed needy families this holiday season.
This was an enormously successful event, said Denton Randall, Dare to Care Director of Development. Randall said Sanderson Farms, distributor of the Miss Goldy brand of chicken, made a donation of 240 broiling hens.
Donations flooded Metry’s, despite certain last-minute obstacles. Mandrell managed to combat bad weather conditions, driving from Pigeon Forge the night before to devote her time to this event. She performs 18 shows a week in Pigeon Forge, said Randall, and “it was so wonderful of her to do this.”
News coverage of the capture of Sadaam Hussein that morning bumped publicity of the local event from local TV and radio stations. But Metry kept his spirits up and his hard work paid off in the end.
He can recount several stories of the generosity of the community. One man arrived with 50 turkeys in the back of his pickup; another couple brought 11 turkeys to his store; and one man brought eight and then went back for four more, said Metry. The local Winn Dixie sold out of turkeys, and Kroger had only eight left in their frozen food case by 4 p.m. Some cash donations were also made.
But the emphasis was on turkeys, said Randall. A food box for each family in need was put together and distributed by the Dare to Care distribution center in Louisville. Since not all turkeys were of the same weight, the size of the turkey in a food box matched the size of the family it would feed. Larger turkeys were given to families with more members.
It is possible that 1,800 to 2,700 people could be fed from the amount of turkeys donated, said Metry.
“This was a wonderful holiday achievement by Mark,” said Randall, as well as Mandrell and the citizens of Middletown. Metry is hopeful that this will become an annual holiday event for the community of Middletown.
To kick off the afternoon, Middletown Mayor Byron Chapman presented Mandrell with a plaque to signify the appreciation of her appearance there. Several other local dignitaries attended the presentation, including Ron Wolf, representing Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson’s office.

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