Polk Sheriff Charities Offering free Turkeys

BARTOW — A lot of Florida families are struggling this holiday season, as the impact of inflation and high insurance costs are making it harder for them to get ready for the family’s traditional Thanksgiving meal.

For families living in Polk County, a lifeline is being offered to them, with the Polk County Sheriff’s Charities giving away free turkeys again this year, on Saturday. Nov. 18.

The upcoming Freedom Tour will be providing boxes of food as well this month.

“For the sixth year in a row we are blessed to be able to provide turkeys to our citizens, thanks to the generous donations made year-round to Polk Sheriff’s Charities,” noted Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “We’re so grateful to the volunteers at the Freedom Tour for the use of their refrigerated trucks and for their food donations as well. It is so heartwarming to work with such a generous group of men and women and to be able to make a positive difference in others’ lives.” 

How Will The Free Turkeys Get Distributed?

 Next Saturday, the turkeys will be distributed “one per family, one per vehicle on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last,” noted Carrie Horstman, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, in a news release. “No identification or pre-qualification will be required to receive a turkey.”

Deputies will be at several locations throughout the county handing out the frozen birds, which will be in the range of 15 to 17 pounds. Horstman said they expect to give away more than 1,200 turkeys at three locations. They include:

  • Church On The Hill, 1111 Scenic Highway in Dundee for residents living in East Polk, from 9-10:30 a.m. Cars will be directed to enter the parking lot south of the church and the turkeys will be handed out at the distribution point there.
  • Lake Region High School campus, 1995 Thunder Road in Eagle Lake, for residents living in Central Polk, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Cars will be directed to enter onto Cameron Road from U.S. Highway 17, which turns into Gilbert Street, then onto Thunder Road, through the school parking lot where the distribution point will be.
  • Lakes Church, 1010 E. Memorial Boulevard in Lakeland for residents of West Polk, from 1-2:30 p.m. Cars will be directed to enter the parking lot from the westbound lane of Memorial at the intersection with Ingraham Avenue, with the distribution point at the rear parking lot of the church.

What is Polk Sheriff’s Charities?

Polk Sheriff’s Charities, Inc. was launched in December 2006 and is now a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit charitable organization. It was formed after the tragic murder of Deputy Matt Williams and K-9 DiOGi after a routine traffic stop, which resulted in a major outpouring of emotional and monetary support from the commodity.

To date, the charity has provided financial support to Polk County Sheriff’s Office members who are facing significant unexpected negative events in their lives. The charity also provides:

  • Scholarships for law enforcement family members
  • Scholarships for deserving Polk County students
  • Funding for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office law enforcement memorial
  • Christmas gifts for children in Polk County’s most economically challenged neighborhoods
  • Support for organizations that assist victims of crime and domestic violence
  • Support for local charities that positively impact crime and quality of life issues
  • Support for the agency’s K-9 unit for replacement of their beloved K-9 partners. 

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book A Christmas Eve Story. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.

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