The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office was a powerhouse on Thanksgiving day

The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office was a powerhouse on Thanksgiving day

The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office was a powerhouse on Thanksgiving day, but not in the usual way you think of power. Instead they used it to serve. The PBSO used their muscle to provide the energy needed to feed more than 75,000 homeless people in partnership with the Big Heart Brigade.

“What we are doing here, is we get community volunteers out here and we’re making Thanksgiving meals for people in need in our communities and our neighborhoods,” said Phillip McCracaen, Board Member of the Big Heart Brigade. “The sheriff’s office is a huge part of that by helping provide the infrastructure.”

The man in charge of powering up the Thanksgiving Drive was Ray Carlson, Division Manager of the PBSO Radio Services. He said the PBSO parks a 100K mounted generator in the middle of the compound of tents and runs lines to all of them so they have the energy necessary to do the work. “About four or five years ago, the Big Heart Brigade approached the Sheriff because they were in need of lighting for these tents because they work out here until 8, 9, or 10 at night in getting this food cooked and served and everything,” Carlson explained. “It is a tremendous opportunity to bless our neighbors. We are happy to do it.”

Carlson’s work was appreciated by the thousands of people volunteering in the sea of open-sided, gray-covered tents. Men, women, and children all worked together dishing up food from huge bins into the endless supply of Styrofoam containers that would be delivered to the homeless. Their faces smiling as some of them sang out the menu, “Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin bread.”

McCracaen said the endeavor would not be possible without the light and power provided by the PBSO. More than 75,000 meals were prepared for the homeless people from Martin County down through Miami Dade, but over 90% of the meals were served in Palm Beach County. “We are very appreciative of the Sheriff’s office and their support, Ray Carlson, all that he does.”

Carlson apparently likes having all this power to give. “I love it! You see the looks on these kids,” he said tearfully, “and I guess with all the stuff we put up with every day, it’s just good to see Scout troops and Brownie troops. It’s really amazing. It’s just fun to see.”

The Big Heart Brigade has been serving the homeless meals on Thanksgiving day for more than 20 years. While the tents and volunteers are a familiar sight, the presence of the PBSO is relatively new to the scene, but McCracaen said that without the PBSO’s contribution it would not be possible to do this event at such a huge scale. The PBSO is apparently happy to be there. Their smiling faces proved that powering up Thanksgiving was as much fun for them as it was a blessing to those they served.

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