Catholic Charities distributed nearly 900 turkeys Wednesday morning to hungry Fresno families, who started lining up in the rain at 2 a.m., for the first-come, first-served holiday giveaway.
This year, the charity collected 1,040 turkeys and $26,000 from its annual turkey drive with KSEE 24, through donations from local businesses and residents as well as sponsorships to feed the needy. Another 450 meal boxes with ingredients for side dishes also were given away.
“We constantly have lines around our doors,” said Kelly Lilles, executive director. “We are blessed by the generosity of our community and rely on people giving donations.”
Donors included Table Mountain Casino, which delivered 460 turkeys Tuesday night, the Knights of Columbus, Saladino’s, and Me-n-Ed’s Pizza. A 7-year-old Clovis girl and her father delivered 40 turkeys to the charity after she saw information about the drive on television, Lilles said. The family later returned with another 40 turkeys.
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“You should see our clients,” Lilles said. “They stood in the rain, and when they walked in, they were doing the happy dance. We’re giving them a turkey, and to them it’s everything.”