Happy tears cried as hundreds receive Thanksgiving supplies, cars line up for hours in Tampa

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – In times of crisis, folks in Tampa Bay have come together during the pandemic to love, support and encourage one another. There’s no doubt people here are special.

On Tuesday, that compassion was like a beautiful, warm blanket wrapped around those who needed comfort the most.

A turkey giveaway was packed with hundreds of families, car after car as far as the eye could see.

Families packed an entire parking lot at La Senda Antigua church on North Howard Avenue in Tampa, and what took place was a heartwarming sight to see.

You could call it an assembly line of love.

One by one, drivers were greeted with cheers, happy faces and music as volunteers from Feeding Tampa Bay and Winn-Dixie partnered to make Thanksgiving special for so many Tampa Bay residents.

You could see the gratitude on people’s faces as holiday essentials were loaded into the back of vehicles with open trunks and social distancing in mind.

“It’s great. It’s really nice,” said Claudio Bernini, who drove his mother to the event.

The two will spend Thanksgiving together next week.

“It’s really nice to get all this. You know, it’s nice.”

“You can feel the energy. Just when I was walking through the line, just people waving, and really great spirits so, it’s awesome,” Keith Newbery from Winn-Dixie told 8 On Your Side.

Food was provided to 500 families.

“The need is greater than ever this year,” Newbery explained.

People began lining up more than three hours before the start of the event.

This labor of love is being held in various locations throughout the southeast, including places like Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana – states hit hardest by COVID

It’s all about compassion during this crisis.

“It’s a growing need, too. More and more pressure, economically. We see more and more people displaced from work, and it puts all that pressure to put food on the table,” Newbery said.

As for Bernini, he is grateful and looking forward to Thanksgiving with his mother next week.

“She’s 83-years-old, and it’s just going to be us. I want to make sure she’s safe. Today was great. I think it’s a very nice thing. Something uplifting. Something this year, something that’s very nice,” he said.

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