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Turkey giveaway switched to a drive-through

Suffolk’s “Turkey Man” is ready to make sure folks stay safe as they get the food they need for Thanksgiving.

LeOtis Williams’ annual turkey giveaway will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 21, at LW’s Lawn Service, 615 Old E. Pinner St.

This is the 17th turkey giveaway for Williams, who two weeks ago was elected to represent the Whaleyville Borough on City Council. Over the years, he has blessed 35,000 families, equaling around 181,000 individuals, with turkeys and trimmings for Thanksgiving, making his nickname “The Turkey Man” highly appropriate.

“I’m looking forward to being a blessing in the community,” said Williams. “There is even more of a need for assistance this holiday season. I just want to be a blessing to those who need help in the community.”

In past years, Williams would work with different organizations to give out a certain number of vouchers to those in need of help for the holidays. On the day of the giveaway, those with vouchers would stand in a line to receive their turkey and fixings.

“This was a perfect time for networking or getting out to talk to people while they are waiting in line,” said Williams. “Sadly, we can’t do that this year.”

This year, Williams has changed the process of his well-known turkey event. Vouchers will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the giveaway. Those who participate have to stay in their cars and drive through to keep people distanced. Williams is basing the distributions on two adults per truck, three adults per car, and five adults per van.

“This way, they don’t have to stand in line so close to each other,” said Williams. “My fear is someone getting sick. We are doing everything in our power to prevent that.”

COVID-19 has affected many people’s jobs, as many in-person jobs have stayed shut down or reduced somehow. This year, more families have found themselves in a position they never thought they would be. Luckily, many organizations and individuals like Williams are stepping up to help in this rough year. Unfortunately, Williams has had to cut his turkeys this year from 2,000 to 1,000 families.

“I just want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and please be safe and wear a mask,” said Williams.