PHOENIX -- There were long lines outside the Desert Mission Food Bank early Thursday morning as hundreds of people waited for a chance at a free turkey. The need this year is greater than ever.

"Work has slowed down and we didn’t have the funds to get a turkey so this was an opportunity," said Raiser, who was the first in line.

Thursday is the third and final day that Desert Mission, John C. Lincoln and APS handed out free turkeys. By the end of the event, they will have given out more than 2,500 turkeys to families who might otherwise go without.

But it's not just the birds those families are getting. They're walking away with everything they need to put a Thanksgiving meal on their tables -- even pans in which to cook their turkeys.

“The community comes together," Marcia Mintz of John C. Lincoln said. "We get volunteers and donors providing turkeys, fixings, trimmings, pans and they want to make sure many people in our community have a Thanksgiving meal for their families."

For the last two days, they have run out of turkeys and stopped the giveaway after just two hours.

But on this, the final day, they plan to hand out 1,300 turkeys, knowing if they don’t do this most will go without.

"I'm very thankful for the facility being here and the people who donated this food," said a grandma who has custody of her grandchild.

But a tearful Raiser was too choked up to explain anything beyond, "It means a lot. A lot."


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