LAUREL — More than 150 people took advantage of Laurel Civic Association’s free Thanksgiving Meal Kits.

The giveaway was done in association with All Faiths Food Bank.

Dozens of cars were lined up before it began, which led to starting earlier than expected.

“We started 30 minutes early,” Laurel Civic Executive Director Michael Fluker said between cars.

The line thinned after an initial rush.

The items were appreciated by those taking part in the event.

“It’s not just a matter of it being free,” Nokomis resident Paul Kurgan said. “It’s very emotional, with everything that’s been going on.”

Kurgan sat in his truck while volunteers and employees with Laurel Civic gave him a frozen turkey and pre-bagged sides including mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and green beans.

He said he, like many, has had a tough time in 2020.

“Can’t get a job,” he said.

Unemployed currently, he said he was a longtime police officer. He was stopping by Laurel Civic after another day working toward another opportunity at employment, but it will be weeks to know if he’s secured it, he said.

“It’s been tough,” Kurgan said.

Along with the food, Laurel Civic was handing out free face masks and hand sanitizer as a part of the program.

Laurel Civic promoted the event and was hoping to let people know about its programs to help with employment efforts, not to mention myriad educational, health and community development programs for youth and adults.

“(The Thanksgiving food distribution) helps in multiple ways,” Adult Program Coordinator Diana Garman said. “And they are happy that we’re out doing this.”

Nokomis resident Kathy Andress was among them.

“It’s wonderful — it’s a great thing that they’re doing,” she said. “It’s a beautiful way to give back to the community.”

Laurel Civic Director of Development Margaret Ann Behrends also gave credit to All Faiths Food Bank.

“All Faiths has been a godsend,” Behrends said.

Laurel Civic Association is online at or can be contacted by phone at 941-483-3383.


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