When the community center doors at Dyess Park opened at 9 a.m. Saturday, people were already waiting in line.
Some waited at least 30 minutes to register for a turkey they will receive from the Brown Family Children Foundation during its annual turkey giveaway Nov. 25.
Music legend James Brown started the giveaway in 1991, said daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas, the foundation’s president.
“By the grace of God and the support of the community we’ve been able to continue it,” she said. “And all I can say to that is God is good, because we had no idea how we were going to be able to continue it.”
Brown-Thomas said three years ago the foundation began requiring registration to receive a turkey because the line often got so long they ran out.
“Then there were people who were cheating, who didn’t need it,” she said. “There were three and four people from the same household coming. That’s unfair. That’s three other families that could have had a turkey.”
Registration ensures there are enough turkeys and each household gets only one.
Alfred Moore waited in line for about 30 minutes to register for his turkey.
“It means a whole lot to me,” he said. “I was coming here since James Brown was doing it.”
Passion Brown said she will inject her turkey with seasonings and smoke it for Christmas dinner.
“They’re helping me out,” she said. “Turkeys in the stores are high.”
She plans to make sandwiches, soup and salads with the leftovers.
Lynn Broadwater has been volunteering for the past three years and said there seemed to be more people waiting in line on the first day of registration than in years past.
She said it was difficult getting up early on a chilly Saturday to help out, but it’s a good feeling to help people who are less fortunate.
“I got here and saw the people lined up and was like, ‘That’s why I’m doing it,’ ” she said.