HACKENSACK, N.J. -- They expected to top last year's donation of 380 Thanksgiving turkeys for the needy, but by the time members of Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino's Community Outreach Unit were done on Friday, a record-shattering 600 were delivered to the Center for Food Action in Saddle Brook.
The delivery crew included Saudino, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, PBA Local 134 President Marcelo Hagopian and BCSO Officer Aret Yesilepe, who organized the first the drive seven years ago.
The crew bought half the haul at the Walmart in Teterboro. They also matched $3,300 in donations during a 10-day campaign so they could pick up more birds for the CFA's annual Turkey Drive.
It doing so, the team produced nearly a quarter of the turkeys that the CFA said it needs to feed 2,500 families this Thanksgiving.
Each meal will include a turkey, a roasting pan and fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as canned and boxed goods such as cranberry sauce, cornbread mix and stuffing, center officials said.
Sheriff’s officers collected turkeys and donations from police, businesses, government employees and others, department spokesman Anthony Cureton said.
Benefactors included Daisy Troop 96674 from Emerson, Saudino's hometown. They brought the department seven turkeys (SEE PHOTO, ABOVE).
The sheriff expressed pride in how his outreach team "establishes and maintains a true partnership with all our citizens in order to provide the most responsive, and highest quality law enforcement service possible."
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