Copping a bird! Sunset Park police give out free turkeys

Turkey day comes early: Police from Sunset Park’s 72nd Precinct and locals joined forces to pass out 200 turkeys to those in need.
Brooklyn Daily
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They ran afowl of the law!

Police officers from the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park gave away nearly 200 turkeys and canned goods in front of their Fourth Avenue station house on Nov. 20. And locals were delighted at receiving the Thanksgiving feast that they might otherwise not have been able to afford, said one recipient.

“This makes Thanksgiving possible,” said Sunset Parker Yolanda Ortiz, a single mother of two. “Without it I don’t know what we’d do. I am so grateful to them.”

Locals and law enforcement passed out holiday birds and canned veggies to 180 families who swung by the station house — and cops passed out the 20 or so leftovers later on.

Bay Ridgite Peppi Gonzales, who grew up in the area, collaborated with the precinct and provided the turkeys and canned staples with his own money and with help from some local businesses. Gonzales worked his way up into the middle class and felt that the Turkey Day giveaway was an important way for him to remember his roots and give back to the less fortunate.

“Life is a struggle, and I see people that are out there in the street and they’re just trying to do right for themselves and their families,” said Gonzales, who owns an appliance-repair shop in Park Slope. “And when I give them a turkey, I feel really good knowing that it’s going to a home where they’re going to sit down and enjoy it — and I have to thank god that I can do this for them.”

Actor JW Cortes, who grew up in Sunset Park and plays a detective in the Fox television show “Gotham,” even came through to help as a way of giving back to the community that made him.

“Never forget where you come from and the way you do that is by coming out and taking action,” said Cortes. “Whether you do that by handing out turkeys or resting a hand on their shoulder and saying there is life after this, and that’s really, really important.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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