A Pre-COVID-19 photograph of MIA volunteers ready to prepare meal plates to be given to seniors in South L.A. (E. Mesiyah McGinnis)

The COVID-19 pandemic was hard for us all.  But no one was hit harder than our senior population.  For the past two years, Mothers in Action has been hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for seniors at Ward Villas and throughout the community to seniors in their apartments who don’t have the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful meal, fellowship with each other, and be served on this special day.

Because our senior population is most vulnerable from the COVID-19 pandemic, Mothers in Action has decided to continue the drop-off on meal service, rather than the in-person sit-down dinners they have been hosting for the past 24 years prior to the pandemic.

A pre-COVID-19 photo of volunteers preparing meals to be delivered to seniors on Thanksgiving. (Photo W. Mesiyah McGinnis / L.A. Sentinel)

On Thursday, November 25, Mothers in Action (MIA) and Ward EDC will once again be hosting their 26th annual Thanksgiving Feed at Ward Villas Senior Complex.  “We really wanted to bring back the sit-down meal, but in order to protect our seniors are our most vulnerable population we decided to wait one more year to ensure the safety and wellness of everyone involved,” stated Tracy Mitchell – President of Mothers In Action.

This ongoing partnership with Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker of Ward Villas continues to bring Thanksgiving dinner to seniors and the sick and shut-in throughout the Los Angeles Area.  Mitchell noted that every year, she is amazed and humbled by the generosity of the host of volunteers, community partners, sponsors, and donors who give of their time, talent, and treasure to ensure that they are able to make a difference in the lives of the seniors, sick and shut-in residents who benefit from this highly anticipated event.

A Pre-COVID-19 photo of high school student-athlete, Kennedy, volunteering at Ward Villa, as he places bags of Thanksgiving meals in cars to be delivered to seniors.  (Photo E. Mesiyah McGinnis)

“MIA’s Thanksgiving is something special to behold.  Every year, elected officials, celebrities, local law enforcement, and community organizations come together to serve the elders in the community.  It is a heartwarming event and to see everyone working together from food assembly lines to serving seniors and their families, to seeing cars and vans pull up to receive food to take all across Los Angeles County is truly a blessing,” Mitchell said.

Even during the pandemic, over 1,000 meals are provided to local residents each year with 200 of those meals allocated to the residents of Ward Villas.

A Pre-COVID-19 photo of volunteers working in stations, preparing various items for Mothers IN Action’s Thanksgiving meal giveaway for seniors. (Photo W. Mesiyah McGinnis)

Thanksgiving meals at Ward Villas was started by the late Brenda Marsh-Mitchell and the late Lillian Mobley in 1995 to give seniors a holiday meal, who are surprisingly forgotten or neglected during the holiday season. “This is just one of the ways that the legacy of our visionary and late president of the organization, Brenda Marsh-Mitchell, lives on,” said Mitchell, Brenda’s youngest daughter.

This year’s turkeys have been provided by a team of elected officials including Assemblymembers Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Autumn Burke, and Mike Gipson Mayor, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Curren Price, and L.A. Regional Food Bank.  Each recipient receives a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings in a recyclable bag, a Thanksgiving card, and a special letter letting them know who sponsored the meal.

Through MIA, seniors with little resources will have a hardy and delicious Thanksgiving meal. (photo Pre-COViD-19 E. Mesiyah / L.A. Sentinel)

This special event is produced by MIA and supported by its media partner, Bakewell Media, the owners of The Los Angeles Sentinel, and the L.A. Watts Times.

Sponsors and donors include Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. and The Bakewell Family, the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade, The Los Angeles Urban League, Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas along with Supervisor Holly Mitchell, RFP Insurance, The Hutt Group, 7 Eleven, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, KROST and the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation as well as a variety of other community organizations.

Mothers in Action is very appreciative of the outpouring of donations both with food and with monetary contributions.  “Our mission is to improve the quality of life for underserved children, families, and seniors throughout South Los Angeles,” stated Mitchell. “This could not be achieved without the love and support we receive from hundreds of volunteers throughout our community each and every year.”

A Pre-COVID-19 photograph of Jackie Dupont-Walker (yellow shirt),  president of the Ward Economic Development Corporation, and volunteers preparing to deliver meals to seniors on Thanksgiving Day. (E. Mesiyah McGinnis / LA Sentinel)

Ward Villas is located at 1177 West Adams Blvd. To donate to Mothers in Action go to www.gofundme.com/MIA-thanksgiving-day-feed or drop or mail donations to Mother in Action at 3800 Crenshaw Blvd (Los Angeles Sentinel Offices), Los Angeles, CA 90008.

Follow Mothers in Action on Facebook and on twitter@mothersinaction.  For more information contact Tracy Mitchell at (323)290-0456 or email her at [email protected] or [email protected].