Several turkey giveaways help thousands in Palm Beach County

Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 2:20 PM EST
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With Thanksgiving just a few days away and some people unable to make ends meet in our region, several organizations in Palm Beach County are stepping up to help.

On Monday, there will be food distribution in Port St. Lucie.

On Sunday, employees and volunteers at Safebound Moving & Storage gathered to give thanks to the community for the year-round support at their business.

They worked with the West Palm Beach police department and Cotton Bottom Diaper Bank to give away 1,000 turkeys and 25,000 diapers at 1727 Old Okeechobee Road in West Palm Beach.

The organizations say too many families in our area are dealing with food insecurity right now.

The Palm Beach County Housing Authority received 200 of the 1,000 turkeys for their members or clients.

“We’re really hands on with our families so we’re going into their homes and we’re seeing the empty refrigerators,” Tavarous Park, with PBCHA, said. “They’re really the ones that are impacted by the increases in food that you see at the grocery store and are unable to get the things they need for their children or themselves because of those prices.”

Laura Olympio is the board chairwoman for Cotton Bottom Diaper Bank, which provided the diapers. Olympio said the relationship with Safebound is natural because they already store their supplies at the moving company’s storage facility. They were glad to provide extra help to struggling families.

"Those families can’t afford or have to make hard choices between diapers, wipes and other necessities," she said.

Helping Hands food distribution in Boca Raton.
Helping Hands food distribution in Boca Raton.

Boca Helping Hands also held events to help out residents in five areas of the county: east and west Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Lake Worth.

The organization said more than 13,000 people received boxes filled with everything they need like a turkey, and all the sides needed for a nice family dinner.

They’ve been doing something like this for about the past two decades.

The organization’s executive director, Greg Hazle, says the need is dire.

“We’re seeing a lot of working, poor people,” Hazle said. “It’s what economists refer to as ALICE, asset limited income constrained employed. These are people who are making more than the poverty line, but not enough to make it, to purchase basic necessities. To us, it means we’re distributing somewhere around 10,000 pantry bags every month instead of 6,000 that we were at a few years ago.”

There were two giveaways in West Palm Beach on Saturday.

Hundreds of cars lined up outside the University Preparatory Academy to get a turkey and a bag of food.

Some even got there as early as 4:30 in the morning, more than two hours before the giveaway started.

The Urban League of Palm Beach County has hosted the food drive for 22 years.

"Food disparity, poverty is real," Patrick Franklin, president/CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County said. "Inflation is high for those who don't have. The cost of goods and services, the cost of food is high. We’re here to help them in any way we possibly can."

Franklin said abut 150 volunteers came together to make the event happen, with the help of several organizations.

Tabernacle Mission Baptist Church at 801 Eighth St., away 500 jumbo turkeys plus Thanksgiving sides to those in need. People lined up around the church on foot and in cars.

While volunteers handed out boxes of food, County Commissioner Gregg Weiss and the police department also assisted.

"I've experienced it, I was homeless, I was in need, so now that I'm in this position, I'm going to give back," organizer Christopher Clarke said.

Dionne Drummond, who received a free turkey, said: "Thank you and thank you for being so organized. The way I found out about it was on Facebook, and I'm grateful for that."

Clarke said the need has always been high in the Tamarind Avenue Area but said this year with inflation and the cost of living, he's seen the need skyrocket.'

On Monday, the Treasure Coast Food Bank, the St. Lucie Mets, and the Amazin’ Mets Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the New York Mets, will distribute holiday meals to people in St. Lucie County at Clover Park. Food will be distributed from 8-11 a.m. or until the food runs out.

About 750 households are expected to pick up holiday meal boxes and turkeys during the distribution.

Also Monday in Riviera Beach, 200 turkeys will be distributed on a first-come, first-serbed basis at Port of Palm Beach starting at 11 a.m.

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