A travel basketball team and its sponsor helped ensure that members of the community had a turkey on the table on Thanksgiving by giving  away 800 turkeys on Saturday.

Georgia Top Dogs hosted its second Thanksgiving turkey giveaway in the parking lot of its sponsor, Bailey’s Tax Service on West Hill Street. The Nov. 23 giveaway, which began at 11:15 a.m., was completed at 1:45 p.m. when the last turkey was placed in the hands of someone in need.

Georgia Top Dogs is an AAU Basketball league/team of third through 9th grade boys and led by brothers Stan Howard, head coach and founder, and Marc Bailey, the sponsor and tax preparer at Bailey’s Tax Service.

According to Howard and Bailey, the goal was to give away 500 turkeys and when the Thomson Walmart learned of the basketball team’s community outreach effort, the store donated 300 more.

“We gave them all away,” Bailey said.

The Lady Elite, a girls AAU travel basketball team, based in Thomson, assisted the Georgia Top Dogs in their turkey giveaway.  

For Thanksgiving 2018, the team’s goal was to distribute 100 turkeys but word of mouth drew a crowd and the team had to get more. The Georgia Top Dogs gave away 365 turkeys for Thanksgiving 2018.

“We sought to do more this year,” Bailey said.

“Our purpose for donating is an attempt to give back to the community and instill in the kids the importance of giving back,” Bailey said. “We wanted to get as many people fed as we could and take some financial pressure off of people by them not having to purchase a turkey,” he said.

According to Howard, the team was formed to remove boys from the street and give them the opportunity to travel and play basketball.  He said the turkey giveaway and other past initiatives are ways to help the community where the boys live.

“I like to do things like this to show the boys how important it is to give and to let them know that it is not all about receiving,” Howard said. “This is about helping the people around you.”

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