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Hundreds get access to Thanksgiving food, medical and dental screenings through Operation Freebird

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Posted at 1:53 PM, Nov 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-20 19:30:17-05

THORNTON, Colo. - More than 2,500 families in Adams County received Thanksgiving food and access to medical and dental screenings at this year's Operation Freebird event.

The event is organized by the Adams County Sheriff's Office and was held at the Appliance Factory. It's been happening since 2003.

"It's just become an amazing event. We offer a whole bunch of other services. So they come out here, they get healthcare, dental care, and some other providers and information for them out here," said Adams County Sheriff Rick Reigenborn.

Among the hundreds out Saturday morning were Rita Tafoya and her son Victor. The two had been to Operation Freebird in past years, and knew they needed the help once again.

"I don't have the funds to buy food. I struggle every month," said Tafoya. "I just knew I had to do it, stay in line because I can't afford to buy a turkey. It's expensive. It's hard to just buy daily food."

Though, this year it isn't just about getting a Thanksgiving meal. Tafoya was also interested in learning more about the healthcare services offered.

"I want to see what they can help with that's like far as dental vision may be something to help people with diabetes. I struggle getting my insulin every month," she said. "I just want to see what other things they offer because it's really hard to find out information."

Community members who went to Operation Freebird were also able to get access to housing assistance, mental health resources, veterans services and even flu shots.

The goal next year is to make the event available to even more families, offering more food and more access to services.

"I think as we continue through the years, we've seen the the bigger need, where people just need a little bit of assistance. It's not a handout, it's just a hand up," said Sheriff Reigenborn.