Duncan, Okla._Duncan held its inaugural Community Thanksgiving Dinner Monday evening at the VFW Post 1921. They served up an early Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings to more than 60 people. The free event was meant to help feed those who might not otherwise get a holiday meal and it all started with one woman's dream of giving back.
Coordinator Tina Bradshaw says she came up with the idea for the dinner from her own struggles as a working mom.
"I had to have help. I couldn't do it on my own. I told myself, that if I ever come into a position to where I could give back to the community, that I would," Bradshaw said.
She says she noticed there were lots of Christmas events to help the needy, but not many for Thanksgiving. That's when she decided to get to work on preparing a feast.
"I thought, 'I'm going to do this. I'm going to do the 1st annual free community thanksgiving dinner'," Bradshaw said.
However, filling the plates proved to be too much for one woman so, she called in reinforcements.
"After four days of planning, I realized I could not do it by myself, so I invited the VFW and my church, the Heritage Oaks Church of the Nazarene to help me," Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw says she went door to door asking businesses to pitch in, too, and that was a job in itself.
"Oh, tons of work. To get donations I would literally park my car, get out and walk from business to business to business," Bradshaw said.
Thankfully, Bradshaw said, they all came through...
"They were like, 'Yes. What do you need? You tell us what you need and we will have it'."
Bradshaw's dream of giving back finally come true. She says watching the community come together and seeing all the happy faces at the dinner made the weeks of hard work worth it.
"To see people come in that I know may have been alone, come in with their friends, sitting down and having a meal and they're laughing, it just really warms my heart."
Bradshaw says putting the event together was especially hard because she didn't start preparing until September, but she says she will definitely start planning early next Thanksgiving to make it even better than this year's dinner.