The intersection of Breed and 4th Street was crowded with the many familiar faces of Boyle Heights residents waiting to get a free turkey at the Salesian Boys and Girl Club on Tuesday.

For three years now, the National Basketball Players Association has provided the community of Boyle Heights with about 5,000 free turkeys. This is just one of several free turkey giveaways held by organizations and churches in Boyle Heights prior to Thanksgiving.

The line of people waiting to receive a free turkey curved nearly to the end of the street. In order to provide enough turkey to those who wanted one, people had to register weeks prior to the event. Some have been going to the giveaway since it was first initiated and see the event as an “extraordinary gift.”

“We don’t get something every day, especially a good meal,” said Benny Morales, 51.

Turkey isn’t the only gift many people receive”” once a year people are able to receive payment of a percentage of their water and electicity bill. Elena Sasca, 53, and her 83-year-old mother, Margarita, showed up to sign up and receive that utility discount which relieves them of the financial burden of their heavy water and power bills.

“It’s nice because there aren’t many jobs right now, and yet we are able to have a dinner with our entire family,” said Hasoit Hernández, a resident of Boyle Heights.

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