Orlando families line up in chilly weather for turkey giveaway

Pendas Law Firm expected to give away as many as 1,000 turkeys

ORLANDO, Fla. – Hundreds lined up along Colonial Drive in Orlando early Tuesday as a law firm continued an annual Thanksgiving tradition by giving away frozen turkeys to families in need.

For the 13th straight year, the Pendas Law Firm is providing the holiday’s main course at its office at 625 E. Colonial Drive.

[TRENDING: Cancer specialists in Florida see dramatic results with new clinical trial | Walt Disney World suspends sales of most annual passes | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

People arrived as early as 5 a.m. for the event as temperatures in the area dipped into the upper 40s and lower 50s.

Since Friday, staff have been on hand at five office locations across the state to distribute thousands of turkeys.

The owner of the law firm, Lou Pendas, said it’s important to continue giving back to the community because there are so many who are facing financial struggles.

“Many families are in an even worse position this year due to the ongoing pandemic,” Pendas said. “We’ve decided to continue our annual turkey giveaway, with a feeling that the need is now greater than ever. It makes a really big impact for people, and it gives us great joy to give.”

“This is a blessing,” said Sarah Harper, who received a turkey. “They’re blessing a whole bunch of people with the pandemic going on.”

“So I say, well, I can get a turkey. I can cook it for my neighbors, and I can give everybody some,” she added.

CJ Par was also one of the people who received a turkey, and they plan to invite friends over to share.

“It just makes it a lot more cheery,” Par said. “It just lets everybody get fed. And it’s always a good time with everybody cooking together.”

Par also is excited to have a regular Thanksgiving again.

“Everybody’s together again. Thank God for vaccines,” Par said.

Since first launching in 2009, families in need have been welcomed to receive a free turkey. Distribution is on a first-come, first-served basis.

As many as 1,000 turkeys were estimated to be given away at the event.

Pendas said his team avoided the current supply chain issues by reserving the turkeys months in advance.

“We reserved turkeys in March, not anticipating that there would be concerns, but that it’s a well-oiled machine here,” Pendas said.

“Just remember, always help somebody that is not as fortunate as you are and just pay something forward,” he said.

Check out the Florida Foodie podcast. You can find every episode in the media player below:

Use the form below to sign up for the ClickOrlando.com Florida Foodie newsletter, sent every other Wednesday.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.