BRADENTON (FOX 13) - On the day before Thanksgiving, the cafeteria of Lincoln Middle School turned into a mini grocery store. Manatee County deputies along with Palmetto and Bradenton officers gathered up supplies for a Thanksgiving feast.
The turkeys and all of their fixings are headed to those who can't afford a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day.
"If we can get the food to the right people and if we can continue to come together as a community we will be fine," said Ray Bellamy.
Ray helped organize the drive in honor of his brother, Sylvester Bellamy. Sylvester served as a deputy for 30 years with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
He understood what the community needed. After his death in 2014, Ray works to carry on his legacy.
"I want people to understand what kind of commitment the sheriff’s department and my brother as a deputy to the sheriff’s department had to our community. It’s not easy to do what these people do," said Bellamy.
Smiles filled the faces of those helping. Law enforcement officers face the unknown daily. Many will never understand what it's like to be in their shoes, but days like these are rewarding.
"When you need help that’s what we do that’s what we signed up to do," said Sheriff Rick Wells.
Dozens of deputies and officers came together on their own time. They helped feed 200 families.
"I think anyone feels good when they can help someone when they can actually make a difference even for one day in someone's life," said Sheriff Wells.
To make sure those in their community don't go without.
"My husband is very sick so this actually helps me out a lot...It does make a world of difference. Thank you to all of them the police and everything who donated this food and give to everybody that does need it," said a woman named Marisol.