D.C.

Marion Barry hands out thousands of turkeys

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Thousands of families in D.C.'s Ward 8 will celebrate Thanksgiving with a turkey on their dinner table.

Thousands lined up in the rain to get a free turkey during Marion Barry's annual giveaway. Photo: Sam Ford

Council member Marion Barry's annual turkey giveaway was held Tuesday morning at Union Temple Baptist Church in southeast D.C.

More than 2,000 turkeys were brought in by the truckload on Tuesday all the way from Pennsylvania, then distributed. And all of Marion Barry’s Ward 8 constituents were lined up outside Union Temple Church in Anacostia to receive them.

"My father called me at 8:30 this morning saying, 'You better get out there -- Marion Barry's giving out turkeys," said SE resident, Carole Powell.

"Well, I had to wait a little while but it was free so I didn't mind waiting," added Vashti Jefferson.

In the midst of supporters chanting his name, Barry made his entrance around 11 a.m. and looked like a candidate seeking re-election. That may be years away, but turkeys have become his cause.

More specifically, a record 3,000 turkeys this year, which were paid for by the business community that raised about $60,000.

Union Temple Church hosted the big turkey processing operation, with tons of volunteers helping many of the needy. They opened just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and the volunteers will remain working until the turkeys are all gone.

"It just show God is still working in people's hearts and minds and spirits to do a good thing," said D.C. resident Anthony Bowser.

The frozen birds are disappearing rapidly, and with the giveaway already in its sixth year, it looks like Barry has created a new tradition.

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