INGLEWOOD — Families waited patiently in lines at several locations this week to receive free turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Residents were treated to holiday giveaways by community organizations, their state Assembly representative and the Inglewood City Council.
Two long-time Inglewood residents continued a tradition of handing out turkeys to residents in the parking lot of Big Lots and Rally’s.
“With the costs so high this year, and still in the midst of a pandemic, we come out here for the people,” said Ant, with A Time 4 a Change. He said he was inspired to hold the giveaways by watching his wife’s grandfather.
“He holds food giveaways with his church, and I got in touch with Big John so we can do this together,” Ant said.
Big John is known throughout the community, and with the assistance of Morrow Meadows, Swinerton Builders and PDA Consulting, the event not only provided a turkey, but also the opportunity to apply for a job in construction.
“We’re building in the community and want to give back to the community,” said a representative of Swinerton Builders. “PDA Consulting is our hiring partner for career opportunities in construction.”
Swinerton is currently building a new Kaiser Permanente office in Watts.
“This event is put on from real individuals who live in the city and we aren’t going anywhere. We will be back every year,” Big John said.
Michelle Stafford, an actress in “The Young and the Restless” soap opera, said “anytime Big John calls, I answer.”
She explained they met at a toy giveaway last year through the Inglewood NAACP chapter.
“We have become fast friends and I support his work,” Stafford said.
Erschelle Best says her family called her about the giveaway, and she drove over to get her family a turkey.
“I am going to have a small gathering of family only,” Best said. “We are counting on family to know their COVID status before we get together.”
Assemblywoman Autumn Burke’s office handed out 500 turkeys to Inglewood families at the Crenshaw-Imperial shopping center Nov. 22.
“It’s always a great joy for me to host my annual Operation Gobble,” said Burke in a social media post.
Inglewood Mayor James Butts and City Council members Dionne Faulk and Alex Padilla, were also on hand to pass out the food bags the day before their event at SoFi Stadium.
Volunteers from the community were on hand throughout the night preparing for the city’s Turkey Giveaway presented by Pepsi and featuring Snoop Dogg.
“Our team was out today assembling bags for the giveaway,” wrote the Dobby Garden, on their social media page. The Dobby Garden is housed at Darby Park and run by volunteers, in the memory of Arrick “Dobby” Turner, who worked in the city’s parks and recreation department for nearly 30 years.
“It’s a great way for us to interact and network with residents by helping with these events.”
The city planned to assist 2,500 families, which is an increase from last year when 2,000 families were assisted during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Volunteers staffing the event note the importance of the giveaways and its personal meaning to them.
“I used to be on the other side many years ago as a single parent and I was really appreciative of what was donated to myself and my children,” said Rosa Meza, who volunteered for the city event.
“I’m always volunteering in my community whether it’s in my children’s classroom, to helping at my church community, it makes me feel good to give my time,” Meza added.
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at email@example.com.