The only complaint some of the people working at the Adams County Sheriff Department’s annual free Thanksgiving giveaway event last was the cold. Deputy Michael Kaiser said they think they’ve …
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The only complaint some of the people working at the Adams County Sheriff Department’s annual free Thanksgiving giveaway event last was the cold.
Deputy Michael Kaiser said they think they’ve solved that this year, moving the event indoors to the Denver Mart Pavilion.
“It was less than 20 degrees outside and freezing rain,” Kaiser said. “We mostly heard from our staff and vendors, because they have to sit their all day and don’t get to move around much.”
Operation Freebird is more than an annual turkey giveaway. It also features complete with health information, job assistance and public program help. It begins at 10 a.m. Nov. 23 and runs until 2 p.m. at the Denver Mart, 451 E. 58th Ave. in Denver.
The annual event is expected to draw as many 3,000 families.
“As far as the weather, we’ve had good years and bad years,” Kaiser said. “The first time I was involved, it was 67 degrees and I got a sunburn. So, it made sense to move indoors.”
The goal of the event is to provide all the makings for a Thanksgiving meal, from the bird to the rolls to the cranberries to the pie.
No profits or income are generated by this event.
The sheriff’s office, the Adams County Sheriff’s Foundation and more than 200 local non-profit agencies and other community partners also help provide a range of services to the needy in the North Metropolitan area.
The giveaway began more than a decade ago as a small neighborhood get-together where Adams County citizens were invited to connect with law enforcement and received a free turkey.
The event has grown every year, with approximately 15,000 people expected to attend this year.
“My goal every year, is to treat the whole person,” he said. “We’re not just giving people free stuff, but there is an opportunity for people to improve their life and situation during the holidays.”
During Operation Free Bird events in 2015 and 2016 sheriff’s office and its supporters and sponsors were able to assist over 3,000 families and other community members with their holiday meals.
Partners include Bimbo Bakeries, which provided 6,000 packages of dinner rolls in previous years, and Petrocco Farms, which donated more than 1,200 bags of produce.
The Adams County Housing Authority distributed 1,200 bags of non-perishable food including stuffing, cornbread mix, canned vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy in 2015 and 2016.
In addition, non-profit agencies and efforts offered their services. Hunger Free Colorado provided information about their services and helps families get signed up for food stamps, Community Reach Centers representatives are on hand to talk about their programs, The Anythink Library’s bookmobile registers new library cards and Lions KidSight Vision Screening and America’s Best Contacts and Eye glasses combine efforts to screen kids and provide doctor referrals for those that need it.
Goodwill Industries of Denver also attends to give away books and to hire for their sorting and distribution facility. Vendors provide flu shots and a hair stylist will be on hand to provide haircuts to children.
The Colorado State Patrol and its partners will also be providing child car seat checks and giving away new child car seats.
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