Operation Thanksgiving brings food and cheer to Philadelphia families

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With a smile, wave and warm greeting, a Philadelphia police van from the 7th District was off to make holiday deliveries on Tuesday morning for the 50th anniversary of Operation Thanksgiving.

Hundreds of holiday food baskets were distributed to families across the city, packed by members of the Philadelphia Police Department.

"It's our opportunity to really give a little something to people in our community that can use a little help around the holidays," explained Acting Commissioner Christine Coulter.

Community Relations Officer Joe Lukaitis had 28 stops in the 39th district. Turkeys, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more, were packed into the boxes.

"If you can put a little cheer in someone's heart. You know, maybe somebody's thinking 'I don't have Thanksgiving'. Now, we're going to knock on your door and give you Thanksgiving," Lukaitis said.

Department employees donated more than $13,000 dollars to cover the cost of the holiday goodies.

"We all realize what's going on. There's 'haves' and there's people that need, and here we are to help the people that need," explained Lukaitis.

In Tioga-Nicetown, the packages were met with smiles and gratitude.

"For me and my family, it's a big help," said Rodney Pendergrass.

Neighbor Ellen Douglas, who recently had open heart surgery, echoed that sentiment.

"I can be able to cook a meal, and it's helping me a whole lot and my family," she said.

The boxes were dropped off in all 22 police districts.
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