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Families find thanks in turkey giveaway

Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

By Rachel Christian
Staff Writer
More than 100 Kissimmee families are sitting down to a turkey meal with all the fixings today thanks to a special event hosted by the city of Kissimmee and Sedano’s supermarkets last week.
The Thanksgiving meal giveaway has become a yearly tradition at City Hall since the

News-Gazette Photo/Martin Maddock
Kissimmee City Commissioner Olga Gonzalez, Kissimmee Mayor Jose Alvarez and Sen. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, help distribute fixings for Thanksgiving meals to families in need at Kissimmee City Hall on Nov. 17.

two entities partnered together five years ago.
Four different community organizations recommend 150 low-income families to the city prior to the event. The Osceola Council on Aging, the Community Hope Center and two other groups helped register individuals who met certain financial requirements and who may not have been able to have a Thanksgiving Day meal for their family otherwise.
“We wanted a way to give back to the community, and partnering with the city of Kissimmee made that effort much easier,” said Sedano’s General Manager Angel Hernandez.
The supermarket chain – which has two Orlando locations and a store in Kissimmee – provides 150 frozen white meat turkeys and 150 tote bags of food to the participants. The bags are packed with holiday classics, such as mashed potatoes, corn and stuffing, as well as a few more non-traditional items.
“There is a large Hispanic population here, so we also like to put some black beans, rice and those kinds of foods for a little diversity along with the staples,” Hernandez said.
The event has grown over the years, and Hernandez said he would like to see that trend continue. He said next year, Sedano’s may hold a similar event in Orlando.
Participants met at City Hall Nov. 17 to receive their free holiday meals. Local government officials, including Mayor Jose Alverez, were on site to greet the individuals and wish them a happy Thanksgiving.
Freda Anderson, a retired Kissimmee resident, smiled widely as she made her way back to her car Friday, a 10-pound turkey tucked under her arm.
“I don’t think I would have been able to have a turkey this year if it wasn’t for this,” said Anderson, who also is the primary guardian for her 9-year-old grandson. “I’m so grateful there was something like this in the community.”