They waited patiently in their cars as the line of vehicles worked its way through a National City parking lot.
“Oh, it will be a great help,” Thelma Santos cooed.
Santos and her friend were at the front of a line that wrapped around the back of Heart Revolution Church.
“I’m getting some turkey,” Santos exclaimed.
Santos was receiving one of a thousand frozen turkeys during Thursday’s annual Ron Morrison Turkey Giveaway.
“It will be a great help to the seniors,” said the 76-year-old.
National City Councilman Ron Morrison said the 12 annual event supported seniors, families and military personnel. The people in line were chosen by local schools, employers or military bases because they needed a little help this Thanksgiving.
“Now it’s grown to, basically, we cover everything that’s going on here in National City,” said Councilman Morrison, who also served as the city’s mayor for 12 years.
Morrison said the giveaway began when he first became mayor. He said a school principal asked him if he could help some needy families with a turkey.
“We gave him 25 turkeys,” said a smiling Morrison behind a face mask.
The 25 turkeys in 2008 became 1,000 in 2020.
Morrison and his long-time partner at city hall, Josie Flores-Clark, had a few weeks to fundraise donations and rally local businesses for this year’s giveaway.
Flores-Clark said they received support from the Marine Group Boat Works, Carnival Supermarket, Jim Beauchamp Enterprises, Perry Ford, Angelo’s Towing, YYK Enterprises, King Aminpour, Indian Motorcycles San Diego and 7UP.
“They are big-hearted people,” Santos said right before she got her turkey.
Morrison said he was happy and disappointed that so many people were in line.
“It’s a combination of both," Morrison said. "It’s bittersweet.”
Bittersweet because so many people needed help and so many people were needed to help.
Besides a frozen turkey, each family also received a bottle of 7UP, a PPE kit from King Aminpour and a bag of side dishes with coupons from Carnival Supermarket.
“That’s that really good feeling when we get to see that we put a smile on their face,” concluded Morrison.