Marion Barry turkey giveaway has no turkeys

UPDATE 6:01 a.m.: Watch ABC7’s morning report with the status on Barry's Thanksgiving dinner giveaway.


(Photo: Associated Press)

Long story short

Marion Barry promised people turkeys on Tuesday. They came, but the turkeys didn't.



Hordes of D.C. residents showed up this morning at Union Temple Baptist Church in Anacostia looking for their Marion Barry-sponsored turkey. One problem: no turkeys were available.

According to Barry, who represents Ward 8 on the D.C. Council, Giant Foods didn't deliver the turkeys in time for the giveaway, which was supposed to begin early this morning. And Barry tells ABC7's Sam Ford that there's a reason for the non-delivery: Barry hadn't paid Giant to deliver the turkeys.

The check for $26,000, says Barry, is now on its way to Giant, and the 2,000 turkeys, he promises, will be available for distribution at Union Temple tomorrow morning.

The councilmember issued a press release blaming Giant's "corporate inflexibility" for the fiasco. Though he acknowledged that he hadn't paid in full for the turkeys, Barry said it was "pathetic and incomprehensible" that the supermarket chain would "deprive" people of food for Thanksgiving. 

Giant responded with a statement: "Earlier this month, Giant Food began working with Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry toward the purchase of 2,000 turkeys to be distributed to families in Southeast D.C. As a good community partner, we placed this large order and offered complimentary delivery to Union Temple Church. This morning, 250 turkeys were delivered, and the remainder will arrive tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. While we're disappointed in the Councilmember's comments, Giant is 
committed to delivering the remainder of the turkeys so that hundreds of
families in Ward 8 can enjoy their Thanksgiving meals. Giant is a proud and strong supporter of alleviating hunger in the communities we are privileged to serve."

 Barry did say that he'd sent a check for $2,000 to Giant for the 250 turkeys. Those turkeys weren't intended for walk-ins, but rather for community institutions that feed the needy.

Press release: 

Barry’s Thanksgiving Turkey Distribution in Ward 8 Delayed by Giant Grocery Store Inflexibility   

(Washington, D.C.) The efforts of Marion Barry, Ward 8 Councilmember, and a senior member of the D.C. Council to deliver 2,000 turkeys to Ward 8 residents today has been thwarted and postponed due to the Giant Grocery Store’s corporate inflexibility.

Barry had raised and received $17 of the $26 thousand dollars that Giant would receive for the turkeys that would have been distributed today however, Giant insisted that the full $26 thousand dollars be received by the store on Monday and that without full payment, the Company would not delivery the birds to Barry.

“First of all, I must apologize to the Ward 8 community for Giant’s failure to provide timely support to the Community. It’s simply pathetic and incomprehensible to me that a multi-billion dollar corporation, like Giant, would take a position that would deprive children, seniors and other adults of food for the Thanksgiving holiday”, Barry said. “

“I told Chris Pardisins of Giant that my corporate contributions weren’t pie in the sky promises, but simply delayed by the bureaucracy of their organizations, as his Company’s ability to be flexible and accommodation of this situation seemed to be, and that Giant’s intractability on this issue was heartless”, Barry added.

Mr. Pardisins informed Barry only last night that the Company would not provide 2,000 turkeys to him for distribution today in advance of full payment, despite assurances from Barry that the money would be forthcoming in the next two days.

After hours of painstaking negotiation between Barry and the Company late last night and early this morning, Giant relinquished, promising to begin to thaw the turkeys today for delivery and distribution by Barry tomorrow morning.

“While I am now happy that Giant, albeit belatedly, reversed its decision, it pains me that Giant was so intractable on its position and reluctant to accommodate the situation, and that this distribution, as it is, still won’t fully meet the needs of the Community in Ward 8”.

The turkeys will now be distributed from the Union Temple church, locate at 1225 W Street, S.E. beginning at 9 a.m. tomorrow.