*Photo above is from 2019

On Sunday, November 22, the fourth annual Operation Give Birds campaign provided 800 local families with Thanksgiving groceries, complete with a turkey and all the trimmings.

This oddly-named holiday tradition started out as a joke among friends four years ago, and has grown into a new Cedar Rapids tradition that shows no signs of slowing down.

Iowa's News Now was on-site to cover the story, as cars drove through in an orderly route to safely receive the food donations via contactless pickup.

The idea started in 2017 and has morphed into an official charity known as the Iowa Giving Crew. 

Each year the operation has grown. In its first year, the group distributed 80 food boxes and turkeys. That number climbed to 280 meals in year two. Last year it jumped to 545 meals, and this year it leaped to 800 families helped.

The Iowa Giving Crew volunteers are always looking for more support as they anticipate next year's number of needy families will likely increase again.

On Wednesday, November 25 there will be another 400 turkey meal kits given away starting at 10:00 a.m. with Urban Dreams, at the Ladd Library, 3750 Williams Blvd. in Cedar Rapids.

According to Iowa's News Now, the meal kits include corn, green beans, stuffing mix, fresh rolls, and a voucher for a turkey, and a pumpkin pie. The meal kits are free while supplies last, starting November 25 at 10:00 a.m.

The meal kits are provided by the City of Cedar Rapids, Hy-Vee, and Urban Dreams.

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