Before preparing their own Thanksgiving dinner, a dozen volunteers of the Lonnie Walker IV Foundation served turkey and sides to roughly 60 residents at the Opportunity House on Thursday afternoon.
Led by Crystal Gilmore Harris, the group usually distributes hundreds of turkeys every year to the community. Learning of the potential turkey shortage this year, the nonprofit decided to refocus their efforts to serving meals at the Opportunity House, providing more a personal touch.
“Instead of handing out turkeys and a bag of food, and just saying Happy Thanksgiving, we decided to do something a little more personal, showing we are an organization that’s in the community. If you need us we are here for you” said Gilmore Harris. “Thanksgiving is all about family, sharing and being great full. We’re all family here. Half of us are from the Sims family, the other Gilmore Harris.”
“I proud because we have some of the younger generation here today helping us. We believe that you have to show kids in order to get them to understand the importance of giving back” Gilmore Harris. “I think that’s the only way we are going to take our city back. Teaching another kid how to build a bridge, and Lonnie is big on that. Big on making sure that, although he’s not in Reading, someone is here on his behalf trying to get this city to stay on track.”
Looking forward to the Christmas holiday, Gilmore Harris says the organization has big plans for Reading School District students. In place of their annual coat drive, the organization will adopt a class at 10th and Penn Elementary School, providing books to students.
Volunteering Thursday is also bitter sweet for the group. This past year, Gilmore Harris‘s father passed away. “He was a community service man. He taught us the importance of giving. So for us all to be here today is honoring him as well.”