BROWN HAS A FOWL BALL WITH TURKEY
Hits sites in all directions
Vallejo City Councilmember Hakeem Brown has found a unifying subject when it comes to every area of Vallejo — a free grocery bag of food for a Thanksgiving meal.
It didn’t take multiple council meetings. It didn’t take numerous phone calls. And it didn’t take discussions with attorneys or consultants.
It took plenty of turkeys and an all-for-one, one-for-all approach by the Vallejo Cannabis Industry Association.
THE VCIA — and the nonprofit Watch Me Grow Inc. — purchased roughly 125 of the favored fowl, handing out food bags in all four directions Wednesday, with Brown orchestrating each delivery and presentation.
It started at noon at Kings Market in North Vallejo, migrating to the Marina Vista Apartments in West Vallejo, the Norman C. King Center in South Vallejo, and ended with the Springstowne Shopping Center in East Vallejo.
Brown even sneaked in a brief show of labor support by handing out turkeys to striking Toyota
“We wanted to make sure the workers that are striking had access to meals,” Brown said. “They’ve been out there 64 days. I couldn’t imagine being out of work that long and having to take care of a family. They were thankful.”
Toyota auto tech Robert Scalcini said that “all the guys out on strike are very appreciative of all the support. For someone with so much going on to stop and come by to give us guys a Thanksgiving dinner is so amazing.”
Families that picked up the brown bags behind the main office of the Marina Vista Apartments at 301 Maine St. were equally grateful.
“It’s very important. Some of us are not fortunate enough to have Thanksgiving meals. I’m really thankful,” Toinette Vinson said, adding that without the free turkey, “I would cook some leg bones and yams. A turkey means the day is fulfilling.”
Vinson said she’s more of a ham fan, though the turkey will be welcomed by her 7-year-old.
“He loves food. This means a lot,” Vinson said. “He might eat some today.”
Evelyn De Los Santos was equally tickled.
“This is very important for me, my kids, my family … especially because it’s Thanksgiving,” she said.
“It helps a lot,” said Feryl Reed.
The turkey is symbolic, Reed added.
“It means time for family and time for friends to get together, have a good time and be thankful,” she said.
Brown said it was good that the cannabis group combined their efforts this year and were able to get a price-break on the mediumsized turkeys.
“Strength in numbers,” Brown said. “The buck goes further when we’re buying in bulk.”
Brown added that the group that includes the Brown-owned Life Enhancement Services, VHHC, Vallejo Relief Center, Highway 29 Health Care, and Life Enhancement Services has a vision of “How can we help Vallejo because Vallejo’s been good to us.”
Brown was satisfied how quickly the grocery bags were snagged.
“I was a little concerned because some of this came together a little late,” Brown said.
It took around five minutes for Marina Vista Apartments tenants to leave an empty table where 21 grocery bags were a blink or two before.
“This is the time of year when everyone can use a boost. It’s been really positive,” Brown said.
Though many in the community simply say “thank you,” others want to talk turkey when it comes to city issues, realizing they have a council member’s ear.
“I was talking to some residents about issues they’re dealing with.
They’re things I want to hear; what’s coming on in the community and what different communities (in Vallejo) are dealing with. It’s what I’m here for.”
Brown said his childhood Thanksgivings were about gathering people, not lathering gravy.
“To me, it’s always about family. Food is second to the family,” Brown said. “Take the day off, relax, get some sleeping in and good food.”
Brown will do “just that” Thursday, he said — after he greets people at Chef D by the Bay with a VCIA-sponsored Thanksgiving Dinner “for those in need.” The meal is served noon to 3 p.m. at 526 Tuolumne St.
Other Vallejo locations for a free Thanksgiving Day meal:
• Moose Lodge, 337 Nebraska St., 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. SolTrans providing free transportation. For a list of pickup locations and times and to reserve a seat on SolTrans, people can call (707) 648-4666 or visit SolTrans.org.
• The Sparrow Project, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., First Baptist Church downstairs, 2025 Sonoma Blvd.
• Chris’ Club Thanksgiving Dinner, 21 and older, starting 2 p.m., 656 Benicia Road.
• Corinthians Church of God in Christ, 1101 Benicia Road, serving meals following 9 a.m. service.
• Good Samaritan Baptist Church, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 407 Capitol St.
• Old Path Miracle Cathedral Church of God, 3 p.m., 500 Arkansas St.
Vallejo city councilman Hakeem Brown hands a bag containing a Thanksgiving dinner with a turkey to Toinette Vinson at the Marina Vista Apartments on Main Street in Vallejo on Wednesday. Brown along with the Vallejo Cannabis Industry Association passed out 120 turkeys and meals to Vallejo residents at several locations around the city.