More than 800 volunteers gathered today at Children's Diagnostic & Treatment Center (CDTC) to ensure that South Florida families will have a festive Thanksgiving. For the 26th year, volunteers at the Basket Brigade distributed approximately 1,300 meals to families who call CDTC their medical home.
Volunteers lined up to package the turkeys, stuffing and goods that make a complete Thanksgiving meal. As the meals were bagged, hundreds of additional volunteers stood by in their cars, lining area streets as they waited to load up their trunks and deliver the meals.
"It felt like a workout," said Odin Perez, a patient at CDTC. His twin brother, Julien Perez, added, "You can help people and it makes you happy."
As they packed up meals, the twins' mother, Angela Martinez, couldn't help but be amazed at all that went into the one-day event.
"This is pretty awesome," she said. "It's our first time, we are definitely doing it again!"
Nancy Gregoire, commissioner, North Broward Hospital District, was one of the many volunteers delivering meals for Basket Brigade, making two stops in Fort Lauderdale and four deliveries in Coral Springs.
"It was heartwarming to see so many people show up to help others," said Gregoire. "You feel good about the community being there for one another."
Ana Calderon, executive director of CDTC, said that she is always overwhelmed by the community's support of the Basket Brigade and that the food deliveries would be not be possible without the volunteers' efforts.
"Year after year our community and generations of families come back to volunteer," said Calderon. "Thanks to our volunteers our families will have a Thanksgiving with dignity."