DALLAS — The parking lot outside the Community Center at The Loop Apartments in Oak Cliff was packed with residents on Monday.
Dozens of people, young and old, waited in line to pick up a free turkey, fresh produce, and other groceries as part of a community-focused Thanksgiving holiday event.
”You’ve got to come a little early to get in line,” said Billie Jean Lasher as she waited in line.
As neighbors patiently waited and exchanged greetings, volunteers from several organizations and community groups were busy setting up tables to make sure the line would go by smoothly.
“It’s a blessing,” said Khandi Moore. “It truly is – to give out to the community.”
What residents witnessed was acts of neighbor helping neighbor. Organizers were intentional about rallying certain groups in hopes of making a big impact for 300 families this holiday.
"God answered my prayers," said Ola Barber. "Actually, I was praying over my little grocery list that he’d make everything be a happy Thanksgiving for me.”
Barber is among the tenants who say making ends meet has been rough.
”I just didn’t have it,” Barber said. “I just didn’t have it.”
Family dynamics across the complex are different. However, the stories some of the neighbors were sharing while waiting in line were common.
"A lot of people can’t afford to go out and buy this kind of stuff for Thanksgiving," said Debra Howerton.
That’s why community organizers, activists, churches, health care professionals, and local businesses stepped in to give back.
”What I see is a community that has been neglected, but yet by the grace of God, things are happening for them," said Pat Ford, the event's organizer.
Ford, along with the nonprofit For Oak Cliff, and their partners for the event, offered a variety of resources in hopes of easing a few stresses as the holiday season hits.
Anthony Williams is the community outreach coordinator with DTLR. The fashion company sponsored the event and provided produce for families attending the event.
"This is very significant because one of our major goals is to restore hope," Williams said.
Organizers say the event was all about community, sharing, and doing little things to make a difference.
Barber managed her way through the line flashing a big smile.
“I thank God,” she said. ”He answered my prayers and I thank him.”
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