Hundreds benefit from turkey giveaway

Published 10:40 pm Saturday, November 21, 2009

When most people were still in bed asleep at 5 a.m., Leotis Williams found himself at a Sam’s Club in Chesapeake picking up a truckload of frozen turkeys.

For a man who has planned and pulled off six annual community turkey giveaways, picking up turkeys the morning of, was a cutting it close.

“I am not sure if it ever gets easier,” Williams said as he looked over the crowd going through the lines at his Pinner Street business location. “But, I’ll tell you what does make it go are these volunteers and this community.”

The sixth annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway is sponsored by Williams’ businesses – LW’s Lawn Service and MWM Investments. But, unlike the previous years, Williams has had others chip in to the project.

Williams noted the community project received donations and canned food products from the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, a donation from Nansemond Tractor and a personal donation from a couple in Maryland who provided funding for 100 turkeys.

“It’s overwhelming to know that these people want to help, want to join in,” Williams said, adding that by the end of the event Saturday, he expected to see close to 1,000 people come through the lines.

And why you ask does this successful businessman do all of this each Thanksgiving.

If it wasn’t the message on the back of each volunteer’s T-shirt, “giving back to the community,” then you can probably thank Leotis’ mother.

“I was just lying in bed one day and was thinking that I wanted to do something,” Williams said. “And then I remembered that my mother used to take doughnuts to the fire departments and police departments. I wanted to give something back.”

In addition to the turkeys, recipients received produce including sweet potatoes and collards.

Also, the American Red Cross was on hand offering free health screenings, checking blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“I look forward to this every years,” Williams said. “It’s a lot of work, but I already cannot wait until next year.”