People wait overnight for Orlando law firm's annual turkey giveaway

By David Bodden, Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Friday, December 01, 2017, 4:16 PM EST

Hundreds lined up near downtown Orlando — some waiting for 15 hours — for a free Thanksgiving turkey during Pendas Law Firm's annual turkey giveaway.

  • Orlando's Pendas Law Firm gives away 1,000 free turkeys
  • Event is 9th turkey giveaway for firm
  • 1st people started lining up early the night before

The Colonial Drive law firm handed out 1,000 turkeys Tuesday starting at 8:30 a.m., and in just over two hours, all 1,000 turkeys were on their way to hungry families.

While some said hardship led them to wait in line, others said they would take the free turkey to other needy people in the community.

Alberto Diaz got in line at 5 p.m. Monday to be first in line — because he had a mission.

“We'll try to get the turkey here and go somewhere else pick up another turkey and a basket and go to a church and pick up sweet yams and stuff like that and bring them to people that cannot reach and come over here,” Diaz said.

Debbie Green also couldn't walk away without offering a gift to the employees of the law firm for all of their hard work.

"I'm grateful, because a lot of us aren't able to always get a turkey, and Mr. Pendas just makes it happen. So this time, I made a cake for them because I like to give back," Green said.

Law firm founder Lou Pendas said he started the turkey giveaway nine years ago when one of his clients asked for help to feed his family for Thanksgiving.

Pendas bought the client a full Thanksgiving dinner and proceeded to buy 1,000 more turkeys to give away. The tradition has continued and grown to several other cities where the attorney has offices, such as Fort Myers, Tampa and Jacksonville.

"This year in particular... (there's even more of a need) because of the hurricane victims," Pendas said.

Pendas said he likes the idea of inspiring others to do their part. He said a little love goes a long way.

"Even if it is not going to solve all their problems, at least they don't have to worry about what they are going to eat for Thanksgiving," he said.

CORRECTION: This story was updated Dec. 1, 2017 to reflect that this was not the law firm's final turkey giveaway. It was the last of the law firm's turkey giveaways this year.