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Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Richard Freed­man rfreed­[email protected]­al­don­ @rich­freed­man­vth on Twit­ter

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

Vallejo em­ploy­ees.

“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

• 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.

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