Alonzo Mourning Hands Out Thanksgiving Feasts to Needy Families

Volunteers from all over the city helped unload boxes of food and iced tea

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    Christian de Villafuerte
    Alonzo Mourning

    More than 500 deserving South Florida families are getting a little help with Thanksgiving dinner from former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning, UPS, Publix and local volunteers.

    "I've been living here 17 years, and I feel a sense of responsibility," the NBA champ told NBC Miami.

    Volunteers from all over the city helped unload boxes of food and iced tea. Each box comes with a complete Thanksgiving meal -- including a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a gallon of iced tea, all courtesy of Publix. UPS helped deliver the meals to the Overtown Youth Center, where they were handed out to deserving families by Mourning himself.

    The former NBA center launched his "33 Thanksgivings" program 11 years ago -- 33 for his old Heat jersey number. This Thanksgiving, he and his charity team provided 533 families with a hearty holiday meal. Mourning hopes he'll his good deeds will inspire more this holiday season here in South Florida.

    "Instead of pointing the finger, and waiting for someone else to do it, we've got to do it ourselves," Mourning said.

    Given the nation's sluggish economy and tough job market, Mourning believes many South Floridians need to give back to their communities now more than ever.

    "People have lost jobs, they've lost their homes, and a lot of them don't know which way to turn," he said. "So many of them rely on help from others, and that's the only way we're going to stimulate growth in our community, with help from others -- other peoples' contributions, other people's time."