Thanksgiving brings different connotations to everyone — some of us envision a huge feast centered around the turkey, others think of watching football all day while the food cooks in the kitchen, and others may think of miscellaneous family traditions.
Last week, members of the Connected Living Quincy Team served Thanksgiving dinner to more than 75 tenants from two different Boston Housing Authority communities. All who attended enjoyed great company, pleasant conversation, and an abundance of Thanksgiving feast favorites. This was the second year we served Thanksgiving dinner to residents of the Boston Housing Authority and look forward to continuing the tradition for years to come.
Property Manager Lynne reported the following day: “I am sorry I was not here yesterday. The tenants were raving this morning how nice all of you were to them. The food was great and they all had a great time. I want to thank you again. Have a nice Thanksgiving.”
|Connected Living Corporate Members Serve Thanksgiving Dinner|
While geographically prohibited from joining us last week, Connected Living Regional Director Gina Cambre has her own similar Thanksgiving tradition of giving back every year. She shared her incredible story here:
“19 years ago when I moved to Nyack, NY, I bought and ran a small cafe. It came with a particular, alarmingly friendly customer, always full of unsolicited hugs. But my reluctant friendship became completely genuine as I got to know her. She was the Director of a nearby, county rehab program that she started out of a tiny storefront. She and her small staff not only counseled recovering addicts, but she'd created a day program for some of the at-risk children in the neighborhood. My first Thanksgiving in Nyack, our family was invited to her home to share in their annual holiday feast, cooked by her and her staff for the kids in the program. There was barely room around the table for the12 kids and 7 adults, but they took us in like family.
“The following year, her group had outgrown her house, so we invited the (then) 20 kids and growing staff to our newest restaurant for their special event. Since 1993, this meal has been our Thanksgiving tradition. Over the last 17 years, we've held the ReachOut feast annually the day before the holiday. It's grown from the original 12 kids to over 100, ranging in age from 5 to 15, and a full staff. Dinner is prepared by my husband and our kitchen staff with food donated by families, friends and vendors. Everyone volunteers for the shift, and the group has been waited on by various mayors, local merchants, and even a New York Times reporter who came to do a story about the celebration.
“The ReachOut kids, who couldn't be more appreciative, always bring us elaborate hand decorated cards, and have even sung and danced their thanks when feeling especially silly! Many of them never have the opportunity to eat out in a restaurant. Some have lost family and friends to drugs and violence, and won't be celebrating in their homes—they break your heart when they quietly ask if they can take leftovers for a sibling, or grandparent. Especially poignant is that some of the counselors working for the program are themselves ReachOut graduates who came back to work with the next generation of kids. The youth program, thanks to my old, very politically savvy friend, is now housed in an enormous Family Center created from a re-purposed warehouse. It's big enough for an entire community of child counselors, after school help, clubs and programs, and located right next to the Middle School.”
|The Entire ReachOut Staff|
This week through the CLN, we asked residents and Connected Living staff to share their favorite or most unique Thanksgiving traditions. The vast collection of quirky elements incorporated into this classic holiday may surprise you!
“I’m one of 14 brothers and sisters so there are around 65 people that get together at my mom’s for Thanksgiving. About half of us get together Wednesday night for Pre-Thanksgiving to cook.” — Neil Sullivan from Connected Living
“My grandparents lived in the basement. When Grandma was cooking fried potatoes I would follow the smell to her kitchen.” — Glen from the Meadows of Glen Ellyn
“One year my mother added brussel sprouts to the menu for about ten people, we all got one, but wished she had made more!” — Deb from Carriage Green at Milford
“I make champagne jell-o.” — Brendan Vandeventer, from Connected Living
“My six brothers were all in the service. They came home for the holidays and brought friends.” — Gladys from Crescent Point at Niantic
“In our church, we chose an ornament with a gift wish on it to purchase between Thanksgiving and Christmas.” — Joan from Maplewoods at Hamden
“My friends and I do 90210 Thanksgiving. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, we start referencing the show in emails. It’s very fun.” — Beth Resendes from Connected Living
“Every year, living in Manhattan, my father used to walk us over to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.” — Sybil from the Kenwood of Lake View
“My husband was a hospital doctor, working holidays. He'd invite interns & orderlies over. 20 people for dinner one time!” — Essie from Hallmark
“My family always sang at Thanksgiving. One brother played the piano, the other, the violin.” — Byron from River Ridge at Avon
“My Thanksgiving traditions are spending that day with family, feasting and reading Scripture.” — Christi from Peachtree Road
“I run the Turkey Trot 5K in the morning starting at 7:30 am and then cook all day with my mom.” — James Parrelly from Connected Living
“Growing up on a farm, all our food would be locally grown and organic. Maybe that's why we lived so long!” — Ruth from Hallmark
“Thanksgiving was always a time that we would get together and talk about the kids.” — Louise from River Ridge at Avon
“There’s a cranberry soda that I always have to drink.” — Annie Vernon-Melzer from Connected Living
“We always enjoy our wine on Thanksgiving. Especially at Lisa's house.” — Julia from River Ridge at Avon
“Every year I go to my daughters house and I am able to see my 10 year old dog Trixie. I look forward to this every holiday” — Jim from the Meadows at Glen Ellyn
“We sing the ‘Thanksgiving Blues’ and write a song about everyone at the table and sing it in a concert that night.” — Sarah Hoit, CEO and co-founder of Connected Living
From everyone at Connected Living, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!