Up to 1,000 needy families in Miami-Dade County will have plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving thanks to the City of Sweetwater and the Miami-Dade League of Cities, who teamed up to distribute free turkeys at four parks on Tuesday.
The turkeys were distributed to pre-selected families who had vouchers throughout the day.
"The significance of it is that were able to reach the entire county, not just one specific area but the entire county and give about a thousand families a Thanksgiving dinner," Sweetwater Mayor Manny Marono said.
Volunteers from FIU, Keiser University and Sweetwater Boy Scouts spent Monday afternoon packing up canned goods to go along with fresh turkeys.
“It takes a lot out of the budget to do this special dinner, so out of the weekly budget this is a big help,” said Mercy Castillo, who picked up a turkey at J.C. Bermudez Park in Doral.
The turkey will make the difference this holiday at Gisela Palacio’s family dinner.
“Oh, I’m very happy, because my husband has been unemployed most of the time of the year, and for me it’s very important to try to get a turkey today,” she said.
The food was donated by Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie. Wells Fargo Bank also contributed to the effort.
Sweetwater drivers departed from the city's maintenance lot Tuesday morning for dropoff locations.
"It's a wonderful feeling," added Marono. "It's the best thing we have in our job as elected officials. The best part of our job is being able to give back and help a family."
The turkeys and non-perishable items were scheduled to be delivered throughout the day Tuesday at these locations:
9:30 - 11 a.m. City of Doral
J.C. Bermudez Park
3000 NW 87th Avenue
Doral, FL 33172
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. City of South Miami
Jean Willis Park
7220 SW 61st Court
South Miami, FL 33143
2 - 3:30 p.m. City of Miami Beach
Miami Beach Bandshell
7250 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33141
4:30 – 6 p.m. City of Miami Gardens
19405 N.W. 32nd Avenue
Miami Gardens, FL 33056