NORMAN — Hearts were full of gratitude, bellies full of turkey dinner, Thursday afternoon thanks to the hundreds of free meals served during the annual Thanksgiving community dinner.
Food And Shelter, Salvation Army, United Way of Norman, the city of Norman and approximately 70 volunteers collaborated to serve over 800 meals.
Food And Shelter Executive Director April Doshier said 225 traditional dinners were delivered to homes, with the remaining meals served during the event, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Norman High School’s cafeteria.
“Nobody should be alone at Thanksgiving. Nobody should be at home by themselves worried about how they’re going to eat. It’s a really neat thing,” said Doshier, of seeing the community come together. “You see a great mix of people, from people who are homeless, the Food And Shelter regulars and others, straight up through elderly people or people who can’t cook for themselves and don’t have family to come in and visit them. It’s so important because people can come together and feel like they’re still a part of a family.”
Lori Alves and Frances Eleanor White, both Norman residents who were previously homeless, said they came to the community dinner because the involved organizations helped them feel safe in their hour of need.
“We were homeless at one point and Food And Shelter, Salvation Army, all these groups have been really good to us. The community effort, just with the people that go there, it was really nice — like an extended family, really,” Alves said.
Both women said they are grateful for the incredible community support provided to the homeless, or those in need, here in Oklahoma.
“If someone starves in Oklahoma here — there’s no excuse. Because there are so many people that are willing to give and love,” White said.
If she’s ever down on her luck again, Alves said she won’t fear.
“We’re really grateful,” said Alves, on Norman’s generosity as a whole. “Because it could happen again today, but you know what? We still are grateful every day.”