And for that, I truly thank The Night Owl (or, as I think I may have to start calling him, The Gift That Keeps On Giving).
Mr. Barry has been giving away turkeys at the Union Temple Baptist Church for the several years now. It's a very popular program in my Ward 8, which is the most economically depressed area in my fair city. You will not hear me breathe one bad word about this program. The holiday season is especially hard on those who are struggling and anything to help make their Thanksgiving better is alright in my book.
But I do have to call out incompetence.
Last year, the demand far exceeded the supply and Barry promised such an oversight would never happen again. This year, people who wanted a free bird had to sign up ahead of time to get one. Once all of the people listed got theirs, whatever was left would be handed out to whoever showed up. (Or at least that's my understanding of how this was supposed to have worked.)
Well, this year's giveaway hit another snag that left people frustrated and upset. All because that evil Giant wouldn't deliver the birds.
First of all, I must apologize to the Ward 8 community for Giant’s failure to provide timely support to the Community. It’s simply pathetic and incomprehensible to me that a multi-billion dollar corporation, like Giant, would take a position that would deprive children, seniors and other adults of food for the Thanksgiving holiday.But, you see, the fact that the turkeys were a no-show wasn't Barry's fault. Except for that part where it was.
D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), well known for his annual turkey giveaway in Southeast Washington, had no Butterballs available for residents Tuesday morning after he failed to pay Giant food stores $26,000 for their delivery.Look, I know people are suffering. I know that some residents in Ward 8 depend on this annual event to put a decent Thanksgiving dinner on the table. But this whole mess could have been avoided. It's not like we don't know when Thanksgiving is going to happen from one year to another. (Not like that blasted Easter.) It's the fourth Thursday of November, for Pete's sake! Mr. Barry had plenty of time during the year to raise whatever funds he needed to ensure that his turkey giveaway would happen on time and without issue. The fault lies on him, not on Giant.
In a news release, Barry said he had $17,000, falling short by $9,000, but promised Giant that the rest was coming. " ... Giant insisted that the full $26 thousand dollars be received by the store on Monday and that without full payment, the Company would not delivery the birds to Barry," a news release read.
(Giant, by the way, did deliver some of the birds with the rest coming today, even though they still haven't been paid for them.)
I have a suggestion to my fellow Ward 8 residents. Stop putting your faith in Marion Barry. He will fail you constantly and consistently. Next year, if you need some extra help putting food on the table, make a trip out to Landover where you're far less likely to walk away empty-handed.
(Cross-posted on The District Diaries)