It was just like old times for Jim Greco and John Caravalho on the Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving. Greco, who founded and coaches the Living Legends travel baseball program, has teamed up in recent years with Mission City Church Pastor John Caravalho to distribute turkeys to families in need at Pomeroy Elementary.
A year ago, the duo ended up doing a gift card drive due to COVID-19 limitations. This year they were back passing out both turkeys and vegetarian package options to over 300 families. All of this was done even during a turkey shortage that limited the duo’s ability to buy turkeys in bulk.
While it was indeed “just like old times,” for the return of the turkey drive, given the ongoing pandemic, both men acknowledged how it was even more important to make a difference for the less fortunate in the community this time of year.
“With COVID and everything else going on, housing being very difficult to afford, there is a lot for people right now and this is something I feel very passionate about, giving back to people,” noted Greco. “Give back to people who need it and will appreciate it.”
“It’s a big deal, a big deal this year,” added Caravalho. “Over a third of the families at Pomeroy are under the livable wage for Santa Clara. It’s really important for these families. I’m thankful we can be a part of helping this community, particularly these folks at Pomeroy.”
Greco and Caravalho’s turkey drive eclipsed their goal of 400 turkeys back in 2018, a year that was much easier to gather both funds and turkeys. Being able to eclipse even just 300 turkeys this year despite COVID limitations is arguably even more impressive.
One of Mission City’s largest donors couldn’t afford to donate this year. Furthermore, the retailer where Greco has been able to purchase turkeys in bulk was only allowing five per customer due to a turkey shortage.
“We had a big donor, but because of COVID, their business is really struggling and this year, they couldn’t give any money,” remarked Caravalho. “I think we were able to pull together 40-60 turkeys and then Jim’s group did the rest.”
Greco and the families of his baseball program had to get much more creative this year, given the inability to buy turkeys in bulk.
“Usually, I have a guy that has 200 turkeys wrapped up for me ready to go. I pay for it and they help load up everything, but this year, with a turkey shortage, getting turkeys was a bit more of a challenge,” noted Greco. “My guy told me he had no issue with me coming in and out buying five turkeys at a time. So, I spent Wednesday and Thursday going in and out of the store and buying five turkeys at a time. I think I have like 30 or 40 receipts here. And I was able to get some other parents to do the same thing.”