Local Inmates Prepare Thanksgiving Turkeys
11/08/2011
WHAG-TV - Online

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HAGERSTOWN, MD - A 30-year-old tradition will continue this Thanksgiving in Baltimore as thousands enjoy a hot holiday meal.

440 turkeys will be cooked and served to more people than the population of Hagerstown and Martinsburg combined, all at the same day-long dinner.

The 8,000 pounds of turkey that are being prepared will serve more than 70,000 people on Thanksgiving Day in Baltimore. The turkeys will be served to homeless and low-income families in Baltimore at the annual Bea Gaddy dinner. The men preparing them know about hard times. They prepare the birds under the watchful eye of correctional officers.

"It's a lot of good guys in here that actually do a lot of good work that help people," says Kevin Chase, an inmate at the Maryland Department of Corrections.

Inmate Dorian Maddox has worked in the meat plant for 15 years. It's a yearly tradition he looks forward to.

"We can give back to the community. For so many years as inmates we want to know how we can give back to the communities, and I feel that this is one way we can do it."

Officials with the Department of Corrections say in a way it's a rare chance to right a wrong.

"I think for a lot of these men, they have never had an opportunity to do something like this," says Renata Seergae, the Public Information Officer for Maryland Correctional Enterprises. "So, the fact that they are incarcerated, they finally get a chance to give back to the community that they've taken from."

Inmates say as they do their small part from behind bars, they are also learning a valuable skill that may help them rejoin the community.

"I believe that in order to change you have to participate," says Maddox. "You have to get yourself involved with those things that going to create a change within you."