Local News

Erwin Residents Line Up as Boy Provides Thanksgiving Meals

Posted November 21, 2000

— Traffic jams are not everyday occurrences in Harnett County town of Erwin. However, when 586 turkeys with all the fixings are being given away, back-ups are to be expected.

The recipients are workers from the Erwin's Swift Denim Plant, which will close next month, leaving 700 people without jobs.

The organizer is a 12-year-old philanthropist named Shawn Asconi. Tuesday night, Asconi had just 293 turkeys -- only half of the number he needed. When he got to school Wednesday, there were enough donations to buy the rest.

"It's tiring, but it feels good also," Asconi says between turkey deliveries. "It's great."

The workers who received turkeys were touched by seeing the spirit of giving at work.

"It's going to be hard on a lot of families, especially here through the holidays, but what that kid did is outstanding," says Curtis Betts, an employee at the plant for 27 years. "I wish there was some way we could repay him."

"It almost made me cry," says Frankie Lewis, who worked at the mill for a quarter-century. "Thank God. It came from the heart of a child. It had to have been God that did it."

The Thanksgiving miracle in Erwin is how a 12-year-old boy taught a community the true meaning of the holiday.

"I'll know that there are people who have a meal, and that's just going to make mine better," Asconi says.

Asconi was able to carry out this amazing feat with the help of his schoolmates and staff at Cape Fear Christian School. Several companies and individuals in the community donated food and money to the cause.

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