Hundreds of turkeys collected for families in need

Nov 18, 2018

Hundreds of South Coast families will have a fresh Thanksgiving turkey on their dinner tables thanks to TurkeyPalooza.

The annual fundraising event, now in its fourth year, was the idea of Odie’s Place Animal Rescue’s Brian Harrington. The owner of the Dartmouth non-profit animal sanctuary began the annual tradition four years ago, inspired by his own upbringing in New Bedford.

“It was a Thanksgiving meal, or keeping on the lights,” Harrington said. “Money was so tight to the dollar that spending extra money on groceries and getting a turkey and the fixings and fit in was a stressful time.”

This year, he recruited volunteers from all over the South Coast to accept donated turkeys, other Thanksgiving staples, and money to buy even more food. Starting last Tuesday in New Bedford, it culminated into dual donations at the Dartmouth and New Bedford Stop and Shops on November 17.

Stationed outside the Faunce Corner Road location, members of the Acushnet FC soccer team worked the exit as countless passers-by dropped off turkeys and other donations throughout the day.

“It’s great to help the less fortunate and it gives the girls a chance to give back,” said Rui Batista, who is the team’s head coach.

“I’m helping my community, because everyone deserves to have a Thanksgiving dinner just like us,” added volunteer Layla Pacheco.

At the other exit, students from Our Sisters' School collected cash donations.

Donated food and funds will be used to supply dinners to hundreds of people in New Bedford, including at the Grace House and House of Hope. Currently, 290 turkeys have been collected across both locations.

For those still interested in donating, volunteers will again be outside the Stop and Shops on Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth and Dartmouth Street in New Bedford from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Donations will continue until Tuesday in New Bedford.