Business owner distributes free turkeys – Vacaville Reporter

Business owner distributes free turkeys – Vacaville Reporter

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Thanksgiving is the top holiday for food consumption in the United States, but not everyone has the money to be able to afford meals.
For the last 10 years, the owner of a Bay Area plumbing business has worked to ensure that does not happen. Every year, Peter Levi Plumbing hosts a turkey drive at different locations to distribute hundreds of ready-to-cook turkeys to families in need. This year, the drive was held at Orchard Avenue Baptist Church Tuesday evening.
Levi, whose business is based out of Novato but has a location in Vacaville, said the idea stemmed as a way for him to give back to the areas he serves.
“I was thinking, Thanksgiving seems like a day nobody should be without food,” he said. “I decided this was a good way for me to give back to the community each year.”
In past years, the turkeys have been distributed in Marin and neighboring counties. Since Levi’s Vacaville office is on Mason Street just two miles from Orchard Church, selecting a location was easy.
“It was a church that was close by, and they were really easy to work with,” he said. “We were just looking for a place that had a reasonably big parking lot, and we had done it at a supermarket before, but there was none that was really close…500 turkeys is almost 6,000 pounds. It just takes a little effort to transport them.”
Flyers were distributed at nearby Willis Jepson Middle School to raise awareness of the event. Levi said turkeys would be given to anyone who showed up.
“If someone is standing in line for a turkey, they probably need it,” he said.
Levi said obtaining turkeys for the event this year was difficult, as a recent avian flu outbreak has contributed to a shortage of turkeys.
“They’re actually pretty expensive this year compared to other years,” he said.
Nonetheless, Levi was able to secure turkeys through a distributor out of Chicago.
On Tuesday, Levi and his employees stood outside the church to pass out turkeys to those who had learned about the event in advance or were just passing by. When the line ran out, team members flagged down motorists driving down Orchard Avenue and handed the turkeys to any drivers or passengers who wanted them. They also distributed the turkeys outside of Big Lots.
Emily Chamberlain, the dispatcher for plumbing at Bonney Plumbing in Rancho Cordova, said she wishes there was a larger turnout but was happy to assist.
“I know the turkeys will go to good homes regardless,” she said.
Chamberlain liked the community interaction of the event and “how positive it feels.”
“I feel like it really only matters if we help at least one person be able to enjoy the holidays or make the holidays a smidge less stressful,” she said.
Levi is happy with the feedback he and his team have received over the years.
“It gives us all this amazing feeling just starting off the holiday season giving back,” he said. “Every year, it rejuvenates my need to go out and give these turkeys. It lets me know that we’re here not just to make money but to give back.”
Avery Godwin, an install coordinator at Peter Levi for the last three years, wants people to know they have a resource for the holidays.
“Hopefully they’ll know that there’s people out there who care and want to help,” she said.
Levi is a believer in the James Longstreet quote “You can’t lead from behind.”
“I suppose if I do this, maybe other companies will do the same so that nobody will be hungry on Thanksgiving,” he said. “I’ve always thought if you’re going to be a community company, you have to be part of the community.”
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