The first annual Turkey Bowl flag football tournament hosted by Porter Emergency Medical Services helped local charity 500 Turkeys, Inc., feed more than a thousand families this Thanksgiving holiday.
“Our goal was to provide Thanksgiving meals for 1,100 families, and we distributed 1,300 meals this year. We exceeded our goal,” said Jeni Bolton, founder of 500 Turkeys, Inc.
“What stands out in my mind is that a group of first responders – whom we should be thanking and honoring for saving lives every day – has, on top of what they already do, found a meaningful way to give back to the community they love. We are so grateful,” Bolton said.
The Turkey Bowl was organized by Porter EMS crews as a way to come together in friendly competition to benefit a good cause. The flag football tournament took place Nov. 12 at Sunset Hill County Park in Valparaiso.
Through the tournament, Porter EMS raised $1,000 for 500 Turkeys, Inc., which was used to purchased side dishes for the meals. Porter Regional Hospital kicked in a donation of 150 frozen turkeys. Meals were packaged and distributed by more than 200 volunteers the weekend before Thanksgiving.
“We would like to thank our fellow first responders at Porter EMS, Porter Regional Hospital, Lake of the Four Seasons Fire Department, Porter County Sheriff’s Department, Chesterton Fire Department and Liberty Township Fire Department for participating in the tournament and making donations,” said AJ Baer, a paramedic with Porter EMS who organized the event. “We also want to thank Starbucks manager Jennifer Scheidel for providing hot chocolate and coffee, Porter County Parks and Recreation for the use of the park, McDonald’s on La Porte Ave., for donating burgers, and J.P. from Studio 7 Spin for providing the sound system. This truly was a community coming together for a great cause.”