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Marlins dish out turkeys in spirit of Thanksgiving

Alvarez, Ozuna thrilled to lend hand in club's annual benefit for those in need

MIAMI -- The smiles and words of thanks made all the heavy lifting worthwhile for a couple of Marlins players who recently showed their thanks to those who support the team.

All-Star right-hander Henderson Alvarez and center fielder Marcell Ozuna took part in the organization's annual Ayudan Thanksgiving Distribution, assisting in handing out 1,000 turkeys to needy residents.

"I like this promotion the Marlins have done," Ozuna said. "This is for the people. They come and support us. This is a good feeling to do something for them."

The distribution took place Nov. 21 on the West Plaza at Marlins Park, located in the heart of the Little Havana section of Miami. Selected residents were presented vouchers that were exchanged for turkeys and all the trimmings for a bountiful Thanksgiving meal.

"We understand very well what being part of this community is," team president David Samson said. "It's part of our corporate, social responsibility. Giving back is what we do. Seeing all these happy faces, knowing they're going to have filled tummies for this holiday season is a good thing."

Having a couple of players at the event enriched the experience for those in line.

"For us, this is the best time of the year," Samson said. "This is the season where it's important to give back. It's very important for our players, and for our whole staff to give to those much less fortunate than we. It's something we've done for many, many years."

Ozuna is one of the most energetic and energized players on the roster. He's known for having fun on the field. Nicknamed "Big Bear," Ozuna was all smiles while handing out turkeys.

"This is awesome, to be able to do something for them, because they need it," the 24-year-old outfielder said. "That's what the point of this is."

Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Ozuna was always thrilled to meet a professional baseball player. Doing his part in return made the afternoon worthwhile.

"When I was young, if I could go someplace and meet a player, and say hi, that was something special," Ozuna said. "I'm glad to help."

The turkey distribution is one of the major initiatives for Marlins Ayudan (Spanish for help). Wearing blue shirts, team employees joined in, stocking tables with turkeys, trimmings and drinks.

Alvarez, who is from Venezuela, was glad to pitch in for a worthy cause.

"It's to help out the local community here in Little Havana," the 2014 All-Star said. "The Marlins have been doing these events for a few years now. It's just good to give back.

"It doesn't matter where you are or where you are from, this is something that needs to be done. You're helping the people who need this food, and they don't have the privilege we all do. Any time you can help out the community, that's good to do."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.
Read More: Miami Marlins, Henderson Alvarez, Marcell Ozuna