This South Phoenix Event Provides Free Thanksgiving Turkeys and Meals For Families

The Team 24 crew at last year's turkey giveaway.
The Team 24 crew at last year's turkey giveaway. Team 24
Editor's note: This story was updated on November 17 to reflect the correct location of South Pointe Elementary School.

Thanksgiving is around the corner, but stocking up on groceries could put a much bigger dent in pocketbooks this year. As of September, the retail price for turkey had increased to $6.70 per pound, compared to $3.16 per pound in 2021, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The 112% price jump might leave many families without a bird on the table this Thanksgiving. But local nonprofit Team 24 is working to change that.

Team 24 is a Black-owned and operated nonprofit founded in 2013 by Ruben Gammage and 23 other people who wanted to help Arizona communities through random acts of kindness, according to a press release. The organization provides educational and social services, humanitarian assistance, and mental health resources to those in need.

On Saturday, November 19 from noon to 5 p.m., the nonprofit will give away 200 free turkeys in south Phoenix. The event, which will take place behind AZ House of Fadez Barbershop near 19th Street and Broadway Road, will feature live music, local vendor booths, games, giveaways, and a Thanksgiving feast all completely free to the community.

Sandra Luna, a project specialist at Team 24, anticipates that the gathering will provide hope and help, especially to those who are struggling.

"This is the third year for our event, which has continually grown. We want to give back to the community while showcasing local vendors who work so hard but don't necessarily have the platform to really promote themselves," she says.

It will also be a great opportunity for residents to take pride in their neighborhood, Luna says.

"South Phoenix has a reputation for being dirty and run-down. But we want to challenge those notions. It's important to promote the area and for residents to take pride in where they live," Luna says. "So while we are certainly feeding families and providing some help with the holidays, we also want to build up many of these forgotten neighborhoods."

click to enlarge
A south Phoenix family picks up their holiday turkey at Team 24's 2021 Turkey Giveaway and Community Feast.
Team 24
In addition to its third annual turkey giveaway, Team 24 has pampered moms on Mother's Day, given away $20,000 in Christmas gifts during the holidays, and fulfilled teacher wish lists, providing local families with items from toys to school supplies and furniture, according to Luna.

Families from South Pointe Elementary School, a charter school at 20th Street and Southern Avenue that Team 24 has partnered with in the past, will also be in attendance at the Saturday event.

"When we work with students, then see them come out to events to support us or give back to the neighborhood, it feels so good. We are passing down the love and compassion to the next generation," Luna says.

She joined the nonprofit as a volunteer in the summer of 2020. What began as some community work during downtime from her banking job due to the pandemic became something much bigger.

"I am so passionate about this and have found my true calling. The fact that I can help others just by showing up means a lot to me. And when I see the smiles on peoples' faces or the hope in their eyes, it really propels me forward," Luna says.

There will be 10 vendors at the Saturday gathering, including Strait Bodied, a women-owned gym in Tempe that focuses on physical and mental wellness. AZ House of Fadez Barbershop, which offers services like beard trims, lineups, kids, and adult haircuts, is hosting the event on its property, which spans about an acre.

Two local chefs are donating hundreds of meals to the event. Private chef Barbara Magree of Barbara's Kitchen will cook a New Orleans-style feast, while Dominic Gonzales of Dom's Barbecue will provide a traditional Thanksgiving meal in an unusual format, layered parfait style and served in a cup.

Parking will be available at South Phoenix Missionary Baptist Church about a block from the event. Vendors will occupy the area behind the barbershop as well as on 19th Street, which will be closed to traffic. The turkeys and hot meals will be first come, first served.

Team 24 Community Feast and Turkey Giveaway

Saturday, November 19, from noon to 5 p.m.
AZ House of Fadez Barbershop
1930 East Broadway Road

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Natasha Yee is a dining reporter who loves to explore the Valley’s culinary gems. She has covered cannabis for the New Times, politics for Rolling Stone, and health and border issues for Cronkite News in conjunction with Arizona PBS, where she was one of the voices of the podcast CN2Go.
Contact: Natasha Yee

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