LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

Wettstein's donated 270 turkeys to the Salvation Army in La Crosse on Tuesday.

The turkeys, weighing more than 1.5 tons, will be distributed as part of Christmas food baskets to 500 families in the La Crosse area who registered in advance for assistance.

Wettstein’s and Lighting Design by Wettstein’s offered a free turkey with a purchase during its promotional “Turkey Takeaway/Giveaway” period. Shoppers who didn’t want or need the turkey donated their free bird to the Salvation Army. All Wettstein’s employees were also offered a turkey. Owner Dan Wettstein said most of those turkeys were donated.

“You saw the smiles on the faces of the members of our team who were loading the turkeys,” Dan Wettstein said. “That in itself should give you an idea of how important it was to them to be part of something so large as this.”

Salvation Army spokesperson Julie Nelson said the people who register for the food baskets are usually dealing with several hardships, like losing a job or working through a serious health problem.

“This just brings some joy into people’s lives, some hope,” said Julie Nelson from the Salvation Army.