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Culture & Artsby Fern Shen1:32 pmNov 27, 20130

Liberty Recreation and Tech Center delivers turkeys and cheer

A holiday helping hand from a city recreation center that once, itself, had been hurting

Above: Desmond Brown and son Desmond Brown Jr. with turkey and trimmings they received at Liberty Recreation and Technology Center.

Albert King came away from the Thanksgiving turkey giveaway at the Liberty Recreation and Tech Center with more than a turkey and makings for all-the-trimmings in two overstuffed blue bags. He had a message, an insight:

“There are good people out there to help you up when you’re down – you’re not alone,” King said, as he tucked the bird in the back of his car, next to his three-year-old daughter in her car seat.

The 37-year-old King said he lost his job at a food processing company in Jessup a few months ago and has been having a hard time paying the bills for his household of five ever since. He said his other daughter, an eight-year-old at Liberty Elementary School, brought home a letter saying she qualified for the turkey-giveaway event.

“I guess I thank God and these people and I thank her for good grades or good attendance record or whatever it was got us this,” he said, driving off into a rainy night.

People Came Together

Organizer Kim Trueheart said the event – sponsored by the Ray Lewis Family Foundation and carried out with the help of volunteers from Laurel-based MCS Services and other businesses and community volunteers – distributed 460 turkeys to needy individuals and families.

About half of the turkey-and-trimmings bags were given to local community association (for Howard Park, Westport and Edmondson Village) and the rest to the individual families of students at area schools (including Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School, Forest Park High School, Liberty Elementary), Trueheart said.

Volunteers ready to hand out the Thanksgiving turkey and Trimming bags atLiberty Recreation and Tech Center. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Volunteers ready to hand out the turkey and trimming bags at Liberty Recreation and Tech Center. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Earlier in the day, Milford Mill Academy football team members had helped unload the turkeys and joined the other volunteers for pizza, Trueheart said.

“It was a lot of fun for everybody – a lot of people came together to make this happen,” she said, pointing out the signs for a number of other sponsors, including Bistro 2110 and the Fred Jones Foundation.

Slated for Closing

Not long ago, the recreation center itself was in need of a helping hand – it was among 20 slated for closure by the city. But with activists rallying help from across the city, the facility has been reborn and now offers a cornucopia of activities in renovated space.

The Digital Harbor Foundation has been helping to organize and guide after school tech clubs working on donated desktop computers, the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology helped with wireless Internet service. There are art, sewing, ceramics, parenting and fitness classes and much more.

The Ray Lewis Foundation” came and did a walk-through” and decided to hold their annual event at Liberty this year, Trueheart said. “I think they saw something here.”

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