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Marion Barry's Turkey Giveaway Comes With A Twist

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D.C. Ward 8 councilmember and former mayor Marion Barry is known for giving away Thanksgiving turkeys like this one, but this year, they come with a hitch.
srqpix: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crobj/4134416016/
D.C. Ward 8 councilmember and former mayor Marion Barry is known for giving away Thanksgiving turkeys like this one, but this year, they come with a hitch.

There is a new controversy surrounding D.C. Councilman Marion Barry's annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway. The Ward 8 politician is -- for the first time -- requiring residents prove that they are registered voters in order to qualify. 

In addition to being registered to vote, Barry is also requiring parents of school age children to prove that they have attended parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings in the weeks before the giveaway. This is the first year that Councilman Barry is requiring Ward 8 residents to be active in their community in order to get a free turkey, and the new rules have some community members wondering if goodwill is still at the heart of the charitable event.

"I think they are kind of harsh, especially with the school children and the PTA," says Frances Johnson. She is an unemployed single mother of a 6-year-old girl. She said she's received free turkeys in the past, but this year she won't go.

"It's not the parents fault that everybody's on hard times," says Johnson. 

Johnson argues that many low-income parents in Ward 8 don't go to PTA meetings because they are busy working, or as in her case, looking for a job.

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