By Mike Kinney
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt joined volunteers from community organizations at the Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) on Monday to help distribute 1,000 turkeys to local families via representatives of churches, neighborhood councils, schools, residential complexes, a shelter and veterans center, among others.
Hilco Redevelopment Partners ordered 1,000 turkeys to donate to Richmond families, while Mayor Butt’s office stepped up to help with logistics, Mayor Butt said. Vernon Whitmore, chief of staff for the mayor’s office, reportedly partnered with the Richmond Community Foundation, SparkPoint and Richmond Rotary Club to help in the distribution effort.
Ten to 12 neighborhood councils and 10 local churches participated in ensuring the turkeys will be provided to people in need throughout the city. Turkeys additionally went to families from residential complexes and the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program. Other agencies such as the City of Richmond’s Literacy for Every Adult Program (LEAP) and the North Richmond Community Housing Development attended Monday to help distribute turkeys as well.
“We wanted to make sure that members of our community had a nice Thanksgiving turkey,” Mayor Butt said. “We were very happy to assist and coordinate to make this happen.”
Joe Fisher, president of Coronado Neighborhood Council, worked with the principal of Coronado Elementary and with Minister Mark Sharpe of the Southside Church of Christ to reach families in the community who could benefit from a turkey.
“Our church will have bags of all the fixings to go with the turkeys we received here today,” Fisher said. “I feel great about this. It is better to give than receive. That’s real Bible talk now.”
Peter Fagrell, the West Coast’s senior VP for Hilco Redevelopment Partners, said it “was a pleasure” to assist local families. Hilco Global donated 4,000 turkeys in total in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and here in Richmond.
“The families who are in need are so grateful for the kindness and blessings of receiving these turkeys,” said Eren Samano of the Contra Costa Services Department in North Richmond. “These families are not forgotten. These turkeys will be extremely helpful for families to cook for their Thanksgiving dinner.”
LeJohn Reese, representing the Santa Fe Neighborhood Council, described the elation of “seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they will receive these turkeys today.”