WEST LOS ANGELES -–There was a whole lot of turkey being passed around on Sunday.
Manny Pacquiao, the Philippine Congressman and boxing superstar, gave away more than 10,000 pounds of plump turkeys as well as scores of pumpkin pies to community members and US veterans to celebrate Thanksgiving.
On Sunday, November 18, the “Pinoy Pilgrim” Pacquiao donated 250 turkeys each weighing 25 pounds to veterans at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System hospital in West Los Angeles; personally handed out 200 turkeys (weighing 15 pounds each) and pumpkin pies to churchgoers and fans at the Westside Shepherd of the Hills Church; and teamed up with the Northeast Police Station for another 120 turkeys for local community members in that area.
In total, Pacquiao donated 570 turkeys and planned on purchasing more, but with the holiday so close, Pacquiao and his team could not find a wholesaler to fulfill their orders.
“I think what he’s doing is great,” said Leo Rey, Sr. Lead Officer at the Northeast Police Station, which serves Los Feliz, Atwater Village, Silverlake and Glassell Park. “He shows he’s not only a champion inside the ring but outside of it as well.”
The 33-year-old Pacquiao is currently preparing for his fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand on December 8 in Las Vegas.
Though deep in training and focused on defeating the three division Mexican champion Marquez, who has been a thorn at his side over the past several years, the Filipino champion said it’s important to take some time off and give back to the community that has supported him.
“Masaya dahil it’s Thanksgiving Day nagbibigay tayo ng turkey sa mga tao. Hindi lang mga Pilipino kasama din ang mga American people,” he said.
This is the second time Pacquiao has donated turkeys to the local community. Leading up to his December 2008 bout against Oscar De La Hoya, Pacquiao gave away 500 turkeys to his kababayans in Historic Filipinotown.
For churchgoers Noel and Susan Demecillo of West Los Angeles, the free turkey and pumpkin pie were blessings.
“We are thankful to God because He has blessed Manny Pacquiao with these abilities that has now allowed him to give back generously to the community,” said Susan.
While for most people this week will be a small vacation, Pacquiao has a full plate of workouts and training leading up to and on Thanksgiving.
On Tuesday, Pacquiao will participate in a conference call with media. On Wednesday, the Filipino will make his annual trip on the Jimmy Kimmel show, and on Thanksgiving Thursday, trainer Freddie Roach has planned on stuffing 10 rounds of sparring for Pacquiao.
(LA Midweek Nov. 22-23 Sec A p.1)