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SALISBURY — Four days before Thanksgiving, Food Lion surprised Rowan Helping Ministries with 500 turkeys for needy families.
New Food Lion President Beth Newlands Campbell rode in the cab of the Food Lion delivery truck Monday and helped unload the turkeys at the food pantry, along with several other Food Lion and Delhaize America executives.
“It was incredible as the truck was unloaded, the turkeys kept coming and coming,” said Kyna Foster, executive director of Rowan Helping Ministries. “Many families will have a great Thanksgiving because of Food Lion’s generosity.”
The donation came at the perfect time, RHM staff said.
“Earlier today, I inventoried our turkeys and hams and realized we did not have enough to last through Wednesday,” food manager Nate Valentine said. “When I learned about the surprise donation, it felt great and I knew that God had sent this to us.”
Food Lion was founded in 1957 in Salisbury as Food Town and has grown to more than 1,100 stores in 10 states. Since taking over the grocery chain in December 2012, Newlands Campbell has become friends with Food Lion co-founder Ralph Ketner and mentioned him during the donation Monday.
“Rowan Helping Ministries, which our founder Mr. Ketner is deeply involved with, had a critical need for turkeys this holiday season,” she said. “We are pleased to carry on Food Lion’s legacy of working to end hunger in our home community and provide this donation, so that Salisbury families who need an extra helping hand may enjoy a warm holiday meal together this Thanksgiving.” 
Both Food Lion and parent company Delhaize America are headquartered in Salisbury.
Newlands Campbell helped unload the turkeys along with Linn Evans, Delhaize America general counsel; J.J. Fleeman, senior vice president of strategy and business development for Food Lion; Howard Lilly, transportation manager for Delhaize America and Dan Alexander, truck driver for Delhaize America.
“As always, we are grateful for the continued partnership that Food Lion has with Rowan Helping Ministries,” Foster said. “Having Beth and her team here working alongside of our staff, volunteers and clients unloading the truck means a lot to us and further demonstrates the community focus and care we experience through our partnership with Food Lion.”

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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