FORT PIERCE — A line wrapped around the block at Sylvia’s Flower Patch II on Avenue D Tuesday. Those in line chattered amongst themselves, primarily in Creole, waiting to take home a free turkey, green beans and corn.
Laid out on a white fold-out table were 250 turkeys, 400 bags of green beans and 500 bags corn on the cob.
Sporting a Lilo and Stitch “Ohana” shirt that meshed with the overall family theme of the afternoon, 30-year-old Brassia Myabe waited patiently on the sidewalk for a Thanksgiving meal for herself and her caregiver.
“I’m here to try and enjoy the holidays and support my family,” Myabe said. “I’m blessed to be alive to be here.”
Avenue D: A reemerging business plspanyground
Lincoln Park: Investor group lespanves Lincoln Pspanrk spanfter investing $7 million
Business directory: Whspant’s open on Avenue D?
Several local organizations chipped in for the seventh annual food drive, including Treasure Coast Hope for the Homeless, Fort Pierce Seminoles, and local investor Vincent Marcellino.
Marcellino, who has been in the Fort Pierce community for 10 years, bought the turkeys.
“We cannot save the world, but we can give a little bit to help,” he said as he bagged ears of corn into shopping bags.
Remembering Sylvia Tommie
The giveaway honors Sylvia Tommie, who died of cancer on Thanksgiving in 2014.
“She always wanted to give back to the community and it feels good being able to give back,” said her son, Alexander Tommie, who runs the giveaway.
His mother owned Sylvia’s Flower Patch II, a quaint lilac building between 14th and 15th streets, and was proud of being a business owner in Fort Pierce.
“She would always say, ‘There is always a bright side to the north side of town,'” he said.
Organizers met with a higher need
A group of women huddled near the front of the line said they were excited to celebrate their first Thanksgiving in the U.S. after immigrating from Haiti this year.
They’d made their way to the flower shop after hearing about the food giveaway, but by the time they’d gotten to the front of the line around 12:15 p.m., they were too late.
“We came out for turkey, but did not find one — just corn,” said Claudia Ridoré.
The food giveaway operated on a first-come, first-served basis, with a sign-in sheet to track how many people took home turkeys and sides. It was supposed to begin at noon, but organizers decided to start at 11:40 a.m. to contend with the long line.
Sylvia’s family is already planning what to do to expand their reach next year.
“We want to bring more local organizations to donate food so we can reach more people,” said William Mccutchen, Sylvia’s nephew.