LeOtis Williams shows off one of the 2,000 turkeys he will give away this year on the weekend before Thanksgiving.
LeOtis Williams shows off one of the 2,000 turkeys he will give away this year on the weekend before Thanksgiving.

12,000 turkeys

Published 7:46pm Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Williams’ generosity makes Thanksgiving special

During the course of the last 11 years, LeOtis Williams has bought about 12,000 turkeys.

This year alone, he purchased about 2,000 of them, along with 150 bushels of collards, 100 bushels of cabbage and 150 bushels of sweet potatoes.

It might be safe to assume Williams has given them away in the past, and will give them away again this year, just so he didn’t have to cook all that food. But really, he donates them to the less fortunate in the community to help them.

“I feel as if no man, woman or child should have to go to bed hungry,” Williams said. “For a lot of folks, this is the only way of having a Thanksgiving dinner.”

Williams drew inspiration from his mother, Marvis Milteer, who instilled in her six children the value of helping others.

“When I grew up, my mom used to feed people in the neighborhood,” Williams said. “I decided I wanted to make a difference.”

The first year of the giveaway, he bought 175 turkeys. The number has increased every year since then.

Williams buys the food with money he earns through his businesses — a lawn service, rental company, investment company and a self-service ice dispenser. He sends vouchers to about 130 churches, civic leagues and other organizations, who give them to folks they know are struggling.

The scene on the last Saturday before Thanksgiving is always chaotic on Old East Pinner Street, where Williams’ offices are located. Folks line up for the food and receive coffee and doughnuts, and later hamburgers and hotdogs, as they wait. This year, more than 100 volunteers will sort, hand out and help carry the food, and the Bon Secours Care-A-Van will be on site to provide free medical care. Folks will also receive education on the Affordable Care Act.

In the middle of it all, Williams will be nowhere to be found, probably hiding in the office.

“It’s not about me,” he said.

His next project, unsurprisingly, also involves food and helping the community.

“I’m trying to hopefully get this food bank off the ground,” he said. “That’s my goal for next year.”

Williams also serves year-round on the Salvation Army board and as a commissioner on the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority board.

“It’s all about making a difference,” he said. “It’s just such a good feeling that I have to see so many people able to benefit from this program.

“Times are hard, and I’m just grateful God has blessed me to be able to provide a service to my fellow man.”

  • 1Artgoddess

    I Love the fact he is doing such a wonderful thing. I just finish volunteering at Impact Suffolk. I left feeling blessed that I was able to help out being disabled myself, but then as I was driving home I noticed LeOtis Williams give away with another long line of folks receiving free turkeys and food. As we were passing we noticed several women that were carrying Turkeys to their car that had just left Impact Suffolk with turkeys and food. I am very sadden by what my daughter and I had witnessed because as things had come to an end we had to turn people away because we ran out of food and then to see people getting another free turkey from another place is so disheartening.

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    • KNRMCO

      I agree with you. When we lived in San Diego, there was a program there which I cannot recall the name of, but you volunteered your time & as “payment” you received free food. Maybe if some of these “takers” had to work for it, they wouldn’t be so greedy. Such a shame; a program there to help others & people abuse it.

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    • Starzz

      I helped out at the Farm Fresh giveaway 3 times and quit doing it just because of what I saw going on. If you really pay attention to whats going on in the parking lot you will see several people from one family going up to get free food then doing exactly what you saw….going to another giveaway to get more free food. Many have really learned how to work every system to get everything they can for free. Its very sad and irritating to watch.

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  • Starzz

    Such a good man. I like how he has vouchers for his food rather than the food giveaway that takes place at Farm Fresh where you see people rolling up for free food in their BMWs and other high dollar cars/suvs wearing their nice leather coats, expensive cell phones, nails all done, and looking like they have NEVER had a hard day or missed any meal in their lifetime. Never seen so many over weight people waiting for free food they can clearly afford to pay for. They really need a better way to regulate who is allow to walk away with this free food.

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