Instead of turkey there was chicken, but otherwise the traditional spirit of giving and sharing was in full view at the Thanksgiving dinner provided by the University City YMCA on Nov. 17.
About 500 low-income residents of the University City area and visitors from homeless shelters around Charlotte brought in on YMCA buses were welcomed by the University City Y's staff and several hundred volunteers for the 11th annual feast.
"It's a wonderful collaboration between the YMCA, the faith community and businesses and gives us an opportunity to serve our neighbors who are on the fringes of life," said Casey Kimbrough, pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church.
About 200 volunteers from Kimbrough's church aided in collecting and preparing the feast, which was supported by a significant contribution from Food Lion. Other organizations, including Elevation Church, UNC Charlotte's tennis teams, Rockwell AME Zion Church and the alumni groups of Zeta Phi Beta sorority and Phi Beta Sigma fraternity helped in various capacities to feed the crowd.
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"What better way to bring people together?" asked Paul Petr, executive director of the University City Y. "This is the perfect time to give thanks for the blessings that we do have, and to share them with our less fortunate community members."