By Terry Rogers
For the second year, the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club was selected by Stormin’s Turkey Giveaway, a program created by Norman Oliver to giveaway turkeys in order to assist families and seniors. Tod Van Eyken, Executive Director of the Milford Boys and Girls Club says that the donation of 100 turkeys allowed the club to provide food for some of their families who may not have been able to afford a turkey for Thanksgiving.
“Families signed up for the turkey giveaway,” Mr. Van Eyken said. “It is an extension of what we do here at the club. We help youth build character and this is one way we can give back to those who support us throughout the year by allowing us to work with their children.” Mr. Van Eyken said that Xitlali Campos-Ramon, who was not only named Youth of the Year for Milford, but also won the statewide award, would present the turkeys to the families as they arrived. Ms. Campos-Ramon was home on break from the University of Delaware where she was attending on a full scholarship.
Stormin’s Turkey Giveaway is part of Youth Inc. and Nor Enterprises, providing food for thousands of families for more than three decades. The turkey donation began in Wilmington and this year has a goal of feeding at least 3,000 families throughout the state. A caravan left Wilmington early Tuesday, November 24, 2015, delivering turkeys statewide. Mr. Oliver encouraged people to follow the turkey caravan on Facebook or Twitter using #followthatturkey.
“Last year, Milford was one of four Boys & Girls Clubs in the state to receive turkeys as Dover, Seaford and Smyrna also participated,” Mr. Van Eyken said. “This year they added Georgetown and Newark as well. We are hoping that we can get all our clubs involved eventually. It is an excellent program and is supported by the Jefferson Awards among other groups. We are pleased that we are able to help 100 of our families enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner that includes a turkey.”
Norman “Stormin” Oliver is a Delaware native who grew up in Wilmington’s Southbridge neighborhood with his four brothers and four sisters. The neighborhood where he grew up was rough and, after two years of attending Wilmington High School, Mr. Oliver was transferred to Newark High School after desegregation, where he played high school. A coach at the school nicknamed him “Stormin’ Norman” and the name has remained with him. He attended Delaware State University where he received several awards for community service. He eventually earned a graduate degree in social work and was a Wilmington City Councilman for 12 years.
Mr. Oliver began the Turkey Drive and Giveaway by delivering meals to the homeless who lived under area bridges. Today, the turkey drive has grown to the point more than 3,000 turkeys are donated and used to feed more than 30,000 people throughout the state. More than 30 individuals and organizations provide support for the Turkey Drive each year.