PRIMERA — As soon as he walked out of the Primera Community Center, Jesus Rodriguez looked into the bag of Thanksgiving trimmings he was carrying.

“We got pumpkin pie,” he exclaimed with excitement as he shuffled through the bag filled with cans of corn, boxes of stuffing, a loaf of bread and much more.

His father was carrying a 20-pound turkey under his arm and his younger brother Abran was standing between them smiling.

They had just picked up their Thanksgiving dinner to take home from the annual Primera Police Department Thanksgiving Dinner giveaway.

The Rodriguez family was one of 27 families who received the holiday meal.

One by one, residents and their children came in and picked up their meal yesterday. They all had a smile.

“We try to help as much as we can,” said Manuel Trevino, Primera police chief.

Trevino and the police department, with the help of local and area businesses, raise money to buy the Thanksgiving meals to give away each year.

He said the department has been holding the event for the past five years.

The proceeds are also split for the department’s annual Christmas toy drive.

Trevino said families are selected for the holiday giveaway after the police department receives a list from the local school of students who may need help.

Yesterday, Trevino walked out of the community center with a smile carrying the frozen turkey for many families and students who arrived to pick up their meal.

Last year the department handed out 20 Thanksgiving dinners.

Trevino said he wished he could help more families.

“We feel so blessed we can help the community and be a part of this effort,” said Deborah Walker, owner at Wayland Walker Agency. “We are trying to help make this effort grow.”

Trevino said his goal is to one day help as many as 100 families.

Many of the families said they were thankful to receive the meal so they could save that money they would have spent for Thanksgiving to buy Christmas gifts for their children.

“This is a wonderful way to be thankful, because they are sharing with the people,” said Jesus Rodriguez, a parent who picked up a Thanksgiving meal with his children.