Liberty City families get turkeys and trimmings

caines | 11/22/2012, 5 a.m.

Youth and community leaders focus on the giving in Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is defined as the expression of gratitude, especially to God, in the New Oxford American Dictionary. A familiar praise song that clearly depicts the importance of giving thanks says, Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy one, give thanks because Hes given Jesus Christ, His son. And to illustrate their concern for those in need, several churches and non-profit organizations recently distributed free turkeys and all of the fixings so that the less fortunate could enjoy a complete Thanksgiving meal. One of the families I spoke with said that they were blessed that someone was looking out for them, said Linda McKay, who along with her daughter, Christina Burden, 10, is a member of a non-profit called Jack and Jill Miami. It was very rewarding to bless someone else. The families seemed very grateful. Last Sunday, Jack and Jill Miami and Parafruit Education, both local non- profits that help youth develop leadership skills, gave about 15 Thanksgiving boxes to families. The youth made cards for each of the families and put it on the boxes as decoration. We gave them turkey, dressing, canned goods, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and rice, said Michelle Thames, president of Jack and Jill Miami. The boxes had enough inside for a family to prepare a full holiday meal. Thames and her two daughters, Miracle, 13, and Kierra, 9, appeared to be excited about giving. Ray Parris, CEO of Parafruit Education, says giving a helping hand to others shows that the efforts of community groups continue to make a difference. It also shows that the younger generation cares, Parris said. We bridged the older generation with the younger generation and the in-between to come together as one so it definitely had a strong impact. Sometimes people dont have anything to eat and giving out turkeys and stuff is a blessing, said Claudie Woods, 17, a member of Parafruit.

Helping people one family at a time

There were also other examples of service to others. Last Thursday, Liberty City businessman Cuthbert Broadway Harewood, the founder of Turn A Coin, a local non-profit organization established in 2005, collaborated with Louis Valdeon of The Miami-Dade Foreclosure List and handed out about 500 turkeys to those in need on last Thursday. This is the third year the two have worked together to give away turkeys to members of their community. Eighteenth Avenue became packed as hundreds of people stood in line for a free turkey. Broadway said that giving to others is important to him because he wasnt very fortunate while growing up, and he knows that it is a great help to those in need. The families came from four schools in Liberty City: Charles R. Drew Elementary and Middle, D.A. Dorsey Educational Center and Liberty City Elementary School. Principals gave Harewood the names of students who they believed would benefit most. He says other community leaders and local sports teams need to get more involved in helping the less fortunate. I want everybody in dire need to get nourishment, Harewood said. You cant ask a child to do work if hes hungry. He wont be able to think right, if hes not eating anything. Harewood is also the founder of Parafruit Education. Shane Thompkins, who also received a free turkey, said it means a lot to her. When it comes to the holidays, families need that extra help, she said. Torey Higgs, 23, was also grateful to receive a turkey. My grandma is struggling, so this is for her, he said. I was fortunate to get one. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com