Last year’s celebration tells the story
The seniors waiting to be served.
Mothers in Action along with the Los Angeles Sentinel, L.A. Watts-Times, city officials, organizations, restaurants and groups continue to make Thanksgiving special for senior citizens and families.
This Thanksgiving Day, Mothers in Action (MIA) will celebrate its 16th Annual Ward Villa Senior Complex Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the Ward Villa Senior Complex. MIA has been bringing thanks to seniors citizens and needy families for many years. Brenda Marsh-Mitchell, president of MIA, spoke about how it all started.
"We realized that there were a lot of people that didn’t have [a] Thanksgiving," said Marsh-Mitchell.
The late Lillian Mobley, chair at the time of MIA, along with other members began feeding people on Vermont Ave. Other organizations and groups took notice and began feeding people within the area as well. Marsh-Mitchell remembers wanting to help another under-served group within the community.
"We said we’re going to stop doing this," said Marsh-Mitchell. "We’re going to feed somebody, nobody thinks about-senior citizens."
The annual event began in 1995 with Ward Villa Senior Complex, developed by WARD A.M.E, in the University Park apartment complex. There, a tradition began where seniors would be treated to a warm and hearty Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.
"We decided we would invite the seniors at Ward Villa and let them invite who they wanted," said Marsh-Mitchell. "And so, they have a guest(s)."
MIA wanted to make sure that struggling families, who weren’t at Ward Villa, were still addressed on that special day. A volunteer drive began where designated volunteers would take food to families across the city.
"After we fed the people at Ward, they took the center pieces to peoples houses," said Marsh-Mitchell. "They read the Bible with them-for some people, those are the only people they will see that day."
Last year saw over 1000 families served throughout the Greater Los Angeles area, feeding 250 seniors at the complex and 800 meals being delivered both locally and throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. Three of those families had a senior citizen over 100 years-old.
Volunteers from throughout the city and other cities came to help serve the elders of the community including California Assembly members, Isadore Hall and Mike Davis, Senator Curren Price, council members Jan Perry, Bernard Parks and his wife, Bobbie, Herb Wesson and his wife, Fabian, pastors Joseph Nixon of WARD AME and Joseph Hamilton of One Church in Christ, fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha and sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho, Americorp and many community organizations, celebrities and businesses.
Last year’s event was sponsored by The Brotherhood Crusade, Bakewell Family Foundation, and the Ward Economic Development Corporation.
Marsh-Mitchell along with Jackie Dupont Walker, Director of Ward Economic Development Corporation, look forward to making this special day happen every year.
"Over the years, I’ve been able to appreciate it," said Marsh-Mitchell. "People turn off their stoves, they come with their spoons, their aprons, their families and they’re ready to serve."
Chef Marilyn will once be cooking the turkeys and the fixings, along with Shabazz Fish and Grill and Mel’s Fish.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!