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Thousands line up for free turkey giveaway

November 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
With the bad economy and rising unemployment, the giveaway comes at a time when the need is at an all-time high across Southern California.Some drove through while others chose to stand in line, but all needed a voucher to get their free turkey dinners.

This giveaway will mean a lot to many families in need.

It's a gift that brought smiles to hundreds of people at the L.A. Convention Center Monday morning.

More than 2,000 people lined up to receive a Butterball turkey, cranberry sauce and potatoes, all the fixings for a Thanksgiving Day feast, a meal that many families couldn't afford on their own.

"I'm unemployed right now, so a turkey would be good for the family," said Elaine Smith.

"How the economy is right now, and that's why I appreciate everything they're doing," said Jesus Gutierrez.

This is the second year that the convention center and its food service provider, ARAMARK have conducted the turkey giveaway.

Several city officials were present to help hand out the food. They say the need is greater than ever.

"We're seeing families come out that you wouldn't think would be out here. They said that they were fine the last few years, but given the economic situation, some of them are unemployed. You see new families out here," said L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar.

Some of those receiving food donated by Butterball and other corporations plan to feed family and friends.

"The holidays would have been kind of sad because my husband is not working, and I have my grandkids here at my house, and it helps a lot, and I get to help some of my neighbors," said Linda Gilcreast.

They're giving away at least 2,200 turkeys and fixings Monday. Even though these are very tough economic times for the companies and everyone else, that's even more meals than they gave away last year.


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