Valencia Gardens hosts SF mayor’s annual turkey giveaway

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (center) is flanked by Veronica Green, (left) Valencia Gardens Community Associate Director and Marcía Contreras (right), Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing as they join various city department heads, Mission District police officers and community leaders to commemorate the annual turkey giveaway. Photos by Tony Bear!

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, city department heads, community partners, deliver turkey and trimmings to Mission Housing families

Monday, November 20th, Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined the San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco Housing Authority and the A. Philip Randolph Institute in distributing turkeys to families at the Valencia Gardens site of Mission Housing Development Corporation, as part of the 11th annual Turkey Giveaway event.

“We are proud to expand our turkey giveaway event this year so that even more families can enjoy a meal together during the holidays,” said Mayor Lee. “We are always proud to call San Francisco a city of love and compassion, and that spirit is particularly strong during the holiday season. Standing up and supporting our communities is a central part of our values.”

“Valencia Gardens is proof positive of what happens when we build quality surroundings, and invest in the hearts and minds of people. This turkey giveaway is another such investment,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “We are proud and excited to once again be a venue for the mayor’s event.”

The November 20th turkey giveaway included 100 frozen birds, and reusable Target bags filled with various fixings. San Francisco Fire Department and S.F.P.D. made coloring books and crayons available to families.

Close collaboration with Mission Housing staff

In the days leading up to the distribution, Valencia Gardens residents RSVP’d with Mission Housing staff. Then, on the morning of November 20th, residents lined-up early in anticipation of the two-hour event.

“We are very thankful for the effort put in by Veronica Green, Valencia Gardens Community Associate Director, and by Carlos Uribe, Property Manager at Valencia Gardens,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing. “Their collaboration with Derick Brown, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, and others, helped make sure the event was executed smoothly.”

City-wide event

In addition to the 100 turkeys given away at Valencia Gardens, thousands of turkeys and dinner baskets will be distributed to families all over San Francisco this Thanksgiving season. Each dinner basket feeds a family of four and includes a 10-12 pound frozen turkey, fresh organic yams, fresh bread, box stuffing, cans of corn, string beans, and cranberry sauce.

“In this season of giving, there is no greater feeling than knowing that you are able to help others,” said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott. “The men and women of the San Francisco Police Department are proud to partner with the Mayor’s Office, APRI and the SFHA to help families enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. By working together as a team, we are able to uplift our community and ensure a happier holiday season for our neighbors in need.”

The City purchased 2,000 total turkeys — double the 2016 total. Private sponsors PG&E, Foster Farms and Clark Construction contributed 1,250 turkeys. That total marks a 30 percent increase from what was distributed in 2016.

Families identified

The nonprofit A. Phillip Randolph Institute, or APRI, identifies families in need and helps to distribute the turkeys. The turkeys are handed out to families at every public housing site in San Francisco in time for Thanksgiving. “This is a time for us all to start to think about what we are thankful for, a perfect time to share our compassion with our neighbors, and work toward a world where no one has to experience hunger, especially during the holidays,” said APRI Executive Director Jacqueline Flin. APRI has tree giveaways, and toy giveaways in the pipeline for this December.