Palmetto, Fla. -- A former Palmetto football star gives back to his community this Thanksgiving and law enforcement is there to deliver.

Officers helped pack 150 meals with turkey, stuffing, and veggies at Lincoln Middle School Wednesday morning for families in need.

The event was organized by Ray Bellamy, the first African-American to sign an athletic scholarship with a major university in the southeast, at the University of Miami.

Deputies and officers from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Bradenton and Palmetto police departments delivered the boxes. Bellamy hopes this act of kindness sends a message of unity.

Bellamy said, “That we are all one. We’re no stronger than the weakest person in our community. We are to come together as a community.”

Captain Bob Mealy delivered a meal box to a family of five brothers. Mealy says, “We don’t want people to be afraid of the police. We are their friend. We want to protect the community.”

Carlos Pyatt, 17, answered the door when Mealy knocked. “I already thought highly of them, now I think even higher of them. They care about us more than anything,” said Pyatt.

He says thanks to the community’s generosity, he and his family can have their own traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Pyatt said, “I want to say thank you. I want to meet you and shake your hand.”

Bellamy named the Thanksgiving Drive after his late brother, Sylvester Bellamy. He was one of the first African-Americans deputies with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

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