“FLINT, MI — Three at a time, volunteers and workers waved cars into the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village parking lot.
Like an assembly line, SBEV employees handed free turkeys to those in the vehicles.
The workers braved the snow and cold Thursday, Nov. 17 for a Turkey Drive event at SBEV, 4119 Saginaw Street. The demand was strong, with cars lined up for blocks.
According to Lisa Sanchez Metropoulos, a marketing manager at SBEV, cars began lining up outside the lot as early as noon, but the center didn’t begin their turkey giveaway until 4 p.m.
This is the fourth year the center has held its annual turkey drive. Each year the center gives away turkeys free of charge to any family that shows up. There is no sign-up or prior registration required.
“People depend on this,” Metropoulos said. “They start calling weeks in advance to find out when we are going to do this.”
This year the center had a stockpile of 280 birds to give out. The turkeys were donated to SBEV by Islamic Relief USA, a national service organization.
IRUSA donated around 500 turkeys in total. The remaining turkeys were given to SBEV’s Chicago location, with plans to distribute them Friday, Nov. 18.
“I thin we’re filling a gap,” said Heather Kale, a leadership development professional at SBEV who helped pass out turkeys. “Times are really tough right now coming out of COVID and our economic situation. There’s a need for a lot of things.”
One of the most vocal volunteers at the event was Kaylah Baker, a digital project manager at SBEV. She waved all of the vehicles out of the parking lot and wished every family a “happy thanksgiving.”
Baker has been volunteering at the turkey drive every year for the past four years and now leads the line of volunteers in getting turkeys into people’s cars quickly and efficiently.”