Turkeys flew off the shelves of grocery stores across Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday morning as organizers of an annual Christmas tradition made a last-minute rush to provide a free turkey meal to hundreds of the city's neediest families.
Organizers of the annual event had been expecting to hand out about 500 frozen turkeys – along with bags of potatoes and cans of corn –on a first-come, first-serve basis at the downtown Windsor Armouries.
Closer to 700 people turned out, sending volunteers scurrying for 200 more.
"We sent our people to every grocery store in town," said Joe Mikhail, whose real estate company, Mikhail Holdings, sponsored the giveaway. "I'm afraid we are buying out every turkey in the store."
One of those turkeys went to Achilles, a homeless man who recently moved to Windsor from Vancouver.
"It really hits home to be able to get something for Christmas," Achilles told CBC News. "A lot of people sacrificed their time in order to make this happen and my heart goes out to them."
The Mikhails gave away turkey, potatoes and corn to 75 needy families in Amherstburg on Monday.
"Times are tough and the money's tough," said James McFarland, who was first in line with his family there. "I really appreciate everyone doing this."
Windsor businessman Tony Azar started the turkey giveaway in the mid-1990s. Mikhail and his family took over the tradition in 2006.