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DeKalb firefighters donate 80 turkeys, $1K to Salvation Army for families in need ahead of Thanksgiving

Members of DeKalb Firefighters Local 1236  are seen Friday, Nov. 18, 2022 holding turkeys in front of fire engine No. 2 to donate to The Salvation Army for WLBK radio station's annual Let's Talk Turkey drive, providing holiday meals for area families in need.

DeKALB – For DeKalb firefighters, service to the community doesn’t end when a shift is over. That spirit is what helped area first responders donate 80 turkeys and $1,000 to The Salvation Army as part of WLBK radio station’s annual Let’s Talk Turkey drive.

The Thanksgiving fundraiser hosted by WLBK FM 98.9/AM 1360 solicits community donations ahead of Thanksgiving to help The Salvation Army’s food pantry prepare meal baskets for families in need to help fill their holiday dinner tables.

“It’s all about giving back to the community,” said Noah Millard, president of the DeKalb Firefighters Local 1236. “What I like to say – and I’ve been saying since as long as I’ve been involved with anything, which has been 17 years in our organization in the local – it’s not just about what we do on duty, it’s what we do off duty.”

The annual daylong radio broadcast took place Friday at the nonprofit’s local headquarters at 830 Grove St. in DeKalb.

Millard was among the DeKalb firefighters who helped deliver a donation of 80 turkeys and $1,000 in cash to The Salvation Army as part of the event. Millard said union members hope their contributions will go a long way toward promoting good.

“Obviously, the more, the merrier,” Millard said. “As many turkeys and meals and sides that they can give with a $1,000, whatever they see fit. I know they go through all of those turkeys and then more this time of year. [I’m] just hoping that it goes, obviously, to those that need it most.”

April Alvarez, core officer for The Salvation Army, said having the support of the firefighters union means a lot.

“We’ve been having people pouring in applying for help,” Alvarez said. “The price of turkey has tripled since last year, and people are having a really hard time affording it. They want to get together. They miss being with family. A lot of our people are very lonely. This time of year is so important to them. Having the opportunity to have a turkey, to have a Thanksgiving meal with family means a lot.”

Alvarez said that in the absence of contributions such as those provided by the firefighters union, The Salvation Army couldn’t help families to the same extent.

“I think that it would severely limit how many people we would be able to reach,” Alvarez said. “We would have to have a cutoff of how many people could apply. We wouldn’t be able to reach as many of our neighbors as we are. One of the biggest donations that we get every year is the firefighters’. Every year, they’re like the top one.”