Valdosta groups prepare ’traditional’ Thanksgiving dinner for homeless shelter

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 6:02 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2020 at 11:07 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - A Valdosta nonprofit is giving back this Thanksgiving.

Eastside Community was established in 2014 and is currently made up of 15 committee members who all grew up on the east side of Valdosta. Their mission, they say, is to unify their neighborhood.

And while their annual day of giving was halted this year due to COVID-19, they’re still working to serve those in need.

“There’s no reason why you can’t be a blessing even in a pandemic,” co-founder Kim King said, along with Shawna Nathan and Dexter Brown.

This Thanksgiving, the Eastside Community members put their money together and gave it to Big Nick’s.

With help from the local soul-food restaurant, their goal is to provide a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for Lowndes Associated Ministries to People Inc, or LAMP, a local homeless shelter on the east side.

“It’s a lot of homeless people in our community that is on the east side, so that is why I chose that (LAMP),” Brown said. “Because I feel like before you can help the City of Valdosta, you gotta help your community first.”

Big Nick’s owner Nick Harden, or “Big Nick”, matched Eastside Community’s contribution and began preparing what he hopes to be a meal of comfort.

”When you come into my restaurant, you know, we always say, ‘Welcome to the family’,” Big Nick said. “If we can give that to someone else, you know what I mean, I think that is what it’s all about.”

Big Nick’s Chef Michael Anderson says they roasted about 40 turkeys and 50 hens Wednesday to give away.

“Altogether, we’ll feed about 100 families in total,” he said.

Big Nick says they expect to have several Thanksgiving meals left over, so they plan to distribute the rest to other shelters across Valdosta.

According to LAMP director Yurshema Flanders, there are more than 50 people with families currently living at their shelter.

“It means so much to have a heartfelt meal, you know, prepared just for them,” Flanders said. “It just brings in home and, you know, those things that they’re missing. It just kinda brings it all together.”

To find out more about, or to donate to, the shelter, click here.

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