WATTS (CBSLA) — This turkey giveaway has become a Thanksgiving tradition for “Sweet Alice” Harris, who hands out tickets so families in her Watts community can get a turkey and all the trimmings in time for the holiday.
“I know when I was young and my mom and dad couldn’t get us a turkey, we thought maybe we’ll get one next year,” Harris said. “I don’t want these children to have to wait until next year.”READ MORE: Help Needed To Find Gunman Whose Shot Killed Diego Ortega-Reza In East LA
People started lining up early Tuesday morning, and did not mind waiting in the cold to get their meals. For many, it was like a big family reunion in the street.
“This community is filled with love and friendship,” Maryann Cortez, who lives in Watts, said. “Sweet Alice is great. She always does this event every year.”
Some said they wouldn’t have much of a Thanksgiving, if it were not for events like this put on through Harris’ foundation Parents of Watts. Throughout the year the organization provides emergency food and shelter for the homeless, tutoring, health seminars and parenting classes, literacy courses, drug counseling, college and career preparation, and housing assistance.READ MORE: Deputy-Involved Shooting Reported In East LA
“I just want to thank the community for giving us this turkey,” one woman said. “God is good.”
But it’s not just those on the receiving end who walked away grateful, volunteers said working this event makes them realize what the holiday season is all about.
“It’s transformative to be able to come out here and give back to the communities that we’re a part of,” Damian Buessing, a volunteer, said.MORE NEWS: 101 Freeway In Boyle Heights To Be Shut Down This Weekend For More Sixth Street Bridge Work
This year marked the 34th annual event, and Harris was able to provide full Thanksgiving meals for more than 700 families.