Norman Oliver, who for more than thirty years has led an effort in Wilmington to organize a holiday turkey giveaway to assist families and seniors, took the effort statewide this year with the goal of providing at least 3,000 families with turkeys in Wilmington, New Castle County, Kent and Sussex Counties.
Norman “Stormin” Oliver is a Delaware native and grew up on the rough and tough streets of Wilmington’s Southbridge neighborhood along with his four brothers and four sisters. He was raised by his mother, Zanthia Oliver, with whom he was very close. Norman attended Wilmington High School for two years before being transferred to Newark High School after desegregation. After Newark High School Norman attended Delaware State University (DSU) and was elected President of the freshman class and President of his fraternity. During his college years he received several awards for leadership and community service and earned his graduate degree in social work in 1985. He was a Wilmington City Councilman of the 4th District from 1992- 2004.
Oliver started the Turkey Drive and Give Away in a much simpler fashion 32 years ago by delivering meals to homeless persons living under area bridges. Today with over a dozen community partners, friends, family and high school volunteers, the Turkey Drive has grown to allow Norman and his supporters to feed over 3,000 families at Thanksgiving.
“For more than three decades, Our Youth Inc. and Nor Enterprises has fed thousands of families and seniors for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Oliver. “This year we were able to take this effort statewide because of the support of numerous organizations.”
On Tuesday, November 25 a group of volunteer from NOR Enterprises, Our Youth Inc., the Jefferson Awards Foundation and Farnan Law Firm distributed the turkeys across the state as the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club opened its doors to become a distribution site. With the help of Leroy A. Tise Esquire, a Milford native, the Club was able to give away 100 free turkeys to families in need, just before the Thanksgiving holiday. A 1987 graduate of Milford High School and also a 2002 alumnus of DSU, Tise is an attorney with his Wilmington firm of Leroy A. Tice, Esquire, P.A., a general litigation firm that focuses on personal injury, criminal defense, worker’s compensation and civil rights matters.
“We are all about being community oriented in this town and today is all about the community,” stated Tise. “It is like living among extended family here, we reach out and serve each other. We do not do it in a vacuum, we are always thinking about our neighbors, always thinking about the next man.”
Director of the Greater Milford Boys & Girls, Tod VanEyken, received the 100 turkey donation for the organization on Tuesday morning as staff members helped local families carry the turkeys to their vehicles. A staple in the Milford community for several decades, the Boys & Girls Club will be celebrating their sixth year in their new location off Airport Road in January. Programs at the Club are geared toward helping kids develop into productive, responsible, and caring citizens. According to Director Tod VanEyken, the Club serves over 200 local youth and their families throughout the year.
“The help for our families could not have come at a more fitting time,” said VanEyken. “Mr. Oliver and Mr. Tise have allowed us to help families in our community this Thanksgiving. We are grateful for their commitment to those in need and thankful for their support of the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware.”