BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- Despite rain and wind, over 500 families took home Thanksgiving turkeys and sides on Sunday during Mayor Michael Venezia’s 4th annual Turkey give-away. The baskets contained a turkey, pie, string beans, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

Registration for the drive opened in October, and most of those receiving the filling meals had registered with the Bloomfield Department of Human Services, which coordinated the event, which was held at Town Hall on Sunday morning.

Mayor Venezia decided to start his turkey giveaway in 2016 to assist Bloomfield families who encounter significant financial challenges on a daily basis, and struggle to purchase extra food for Thanksgiving. At last year’s event, 434 turkeys were given out to local families.

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“Having lived in Bloomfield my whole life, I know that our community loves to come together to give back to those in need, especially during the holiday season. This was our biggest Turkey give-away yet, which was really humbling and heartwarming,” said Mayor Mike Venezia. “We have so many people to thank for making this possible, including members of the Division of Human Services, the Recreation Department, Department of Public Works and Parks, the Division of Public Safety, my colleagues on the Township Council, and our sponsors: Brookdale Shoprite and Neil Greenstein, the Shauger Group, Columbus Specialty Hospital and Knock Knock Give a Sock. Thanks to everyone donating their time and supplies, we were able to make sure more Bloomfield families have a happy Thanksgiving!”

450 turkeys were purchased at the cost price from Brookdale Shoprite. 75 turkeys/side dishes were donated by the Shauger Group. Columbus Specialty Hospital donated 500 pies and Knock Knock Give a sock donated 5,000 pairs of socks.

On the day of the event, the Shauger Group came with an additional 25 baskets, bringing their total to 100 baskets. At the conclusion Sunday’s giveaway, there were six turkeys and 20 side dishes left over that were donated to the Human Needs Food Pantry in Montclair. About half of the clients of the Human Needs Pantry live in Bloomfield.