Local organizations feed community free Thanksgiving meals

Posted at 8:58 PM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 20:58:49-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Thanksgiving often involves loved ones gathering over a warm meal and enjoying each others company.

But not everyone has that luxury.

So local businesses and nonprofits around metro Detroit work to give back in a big way and make sure no one goes hungry this holiday.

“We all have a platform. We all have a voice," Charles Simmon said.

He and Snipes colleague Philicia Lowe are using theirs by serving warm Thanksgiving meals to people at the Samaritas shelter in Westland.

Simmon says he and his family stayed at the shelter when he was 8 years old.

“I really wanted to come back here and do something with them because it’s not just a shelter, it’s a place where they try to rehabilitate families — not just coming here for a play to stay. They make sure that we’re budgeting, getting people back on the right track," Simmon explained.

He's now store manager for Snipes flagship store in Michigan. Simmon is also over the company's community council in Michigan and came up with the Samaritas initiative. Simmon said Snipes will have served 1,400 meals in seven cities across the U.S. on Thanksgiving.

“Because you never know what somebody could be going through," he said.

The meal placed a smile on faces of people like Maryann Mullinax and her daughters.

“I really thought that was cool. I really thought that was awesome,” Mullinax said.

Over at El Club in Southwest Detroit, Dustin Oliver also spread the love. The founder of the Detroit Youth and Dog Rescue and a group of volunteers filled bellies this Thanksgiving for the eighth year now.

“Oh, this means everything. This is, giving back for me is really the part that makes life the part that goes around," Oliver explained.

“And to have the youth actually come and continue to come, and I know that she (a youth standing next to Oliver) looks forward to it. And to be able to share with the food and everything, it’s perfect. It’s what Thanksgiving should really be about," he added.

Oliver said this Christmas will also be the eighth year he’ll give out Christmas dinner.