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Mike’s Furniture owner goes from 100 turkey giveaway to 500. “The help was needed.”

After Mike’s Furniture owner Faddi Aref gave away 100 turkeys in 2018, he saw the need for those less fortunate to have food on their tables for Thanksgiving was greater.

“I always look for ways to do things in the community and give back,” Aref said. “I’m blessed for the opportunity. I’m just in a fortunate situation where we’re able to do 500, and I felt like last time 100 wasn’t enough. There was a demand. The help was needed. And, now, we’re in a different situation with the pandemic.”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many to be laid off work, and some are still going without a paycheck. With Thanksgiving coming, Aref and his staff are reaching out to those in need with a 500-turkey giveaway starting at 11 a.m. today (Nov. 23) at the furniture store’s location at 2420 Memorial Blvd. in Port Arthur.

The giveaway continues until supplies run out.

“This year, I said, ‘You know what? I want to do 500,’” Aref said. “Given this whole pandemic and a lot of people are probably laid off and a lot of people aren’t working, I wanted to try to see what I could do to contribute and help out.”

The giveaway is open to everyone, but it is preferred only those who need assistance the most wait in line.

Those who receive a turkey can also look forward to a full meal.

“We were just doing turkeys, but after we shared it on social media, people have contacted me and they wanted to contribute,” Aref said. “Now, we’ll be doing some sides. From my understanding, we’ll be giving these boxes of mac and cheese and corn.”

Jefferson County Precinct 2 Constable Christopher Bates announced another business on Memorial Boulevard, Seventh Heaven, will match each turkey with a bag of canned goods.

“We definitely appreciate the dedication and the will to give back to the community,” said Bates, who along with Port Arthur Councilman Thomas Kinlaw III will help out with the delivery. “We want to give all the turkeys out.”

Bates has announced his Christmas With the Constable Toy Drive will return for a sixth year Dec. 11.

Due to the pandemic, the event will turn into a “Drive-In Movie Edition” at the Texas Artists Museum, 3501 Cultural Center Drive in Port Arthur.

Bates and other musicians will sing Christmas tunes as usual, but donors are asked to bring two unwrapped toys (one for a girl and another for a boy) in a drive-thru format. Adding to the entertainment, a drive-thru movie will be shown in a nearby parking lot with gumbo and snacks served in containers.

The toy drive begins at 6 p.m.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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