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"Stormin" Norman Oliver leads effort bringing 3,500 turkeys to First State families

Megan Pauly
Delaware Public Media
3,500 turkeys were distributed to First State families Tuesday.

Thanksgiving is only a few days away, which means it’s time to start thawing out the festive bird for a holiday feast.


And 3,500 First State families who might not have otherwise had the opportunity to enjoy turkey on Thanksgiving received their bird Tuesday.


For over 30 years, “Stormin” Norman Oliver has led efforts to donate turkeys to Delaware families. Oliver - a former city councilman - grew up on Wilmington’s East Side, and says he’s committed to giving back to the community because he knows what it’s like to be in need of support.


“I was one of those guys who needed a turkey," Oliver said. "My mother probably got several turkeys donated.”


He started feeding people under a bridge, and the number of those he was able to help started growing.

“Then we started feeding like 20 people, then it was 300 people, then it was 500 people then it was 1,000 people and now it’s incredible, now we’re going up and down the state," Oliver said.


This year - in partnership with Food Lion, the Jefferson Awards Foundation and others – around 3,500 First State families will receive a free turkey.


Rachelle Grimes is Resident Council President of Wilmington’s Herlihy apartments, where 125 residents – seniors or those with a disability or low-incomes – received turkeys.


“There’s always room for more, there’s always room for more," Grimes said. "This is such a blessing though, it really is. Because some are unfortunately not able to purchase turkeys or purchase fixings. So this helps out a whole lot.”


Grimes said sometimes people save turkeys to share during group barbecues or other events.

And others save their turkey for another year. Herlihy resident Marlene Rider said she’ll be sharing her turkey – and the one she saved from last year – with her mother and extended family.

“I can’t eat that whole thing, but thank God for it," Rider said.


The Herlihy apartment complex was the first of over 15 stops across the First State where turkeys were delivered Tuesday.


The effort was part of the 34th Annual Turkey Drive Giveaway coordinated by Oliver’s NOR Enterprises.




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