Long Beach: Thanksgiving for Andy Street & Delta Sisterhood
Andy Street families are getting a head start on the festive season, and about to break out all the secret sauce for some mouth watering Thanksgiving dinner.
But first, the free turkeys.
On November 17, community advocate LaVerne Duncan said their turkey giveaway for local families includes everything needed to whip a multi-course meal with all the trimmings.
This year, her outreach garnered great support with the help from Just Serve, the nonprofit arm of the Church of Latter Day Saints, as well Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and Councilman Rex Richardson’s office.
They are serving 96 families on Andy Street, along with over 100 local elderly and veterans.
“There are so many people that need nowadays,” said Duncan, Executive Director of the Andy Street Community Association. “The Deltas also bring a bunch of people and pack the bags early in the morning. We have rice, potatoes, vegetables and cranberry sauce, and there will be pies.”
She often shares how she became involved some 18 years ago in bringing food help and resources to the low-income area.
She galvanized public, private and nonprofit partners to revitalize the apartment complex that was run down with drugs, gangs, prostitutes and regular drive-by shootings.
When she first started outreach, both the post office and pizza man refused deliveries.
It’s a different story today.
Andy Street has concerned parents and community that organize and participate in block party clean-ups at the 24 buildings complex.
Volunteers work with youth programs for kids at risk, and students in the complex are supported with education scholarships.
Shelia LeFridge with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., said this time of year also brings out the best in the Delta sisterhood. They all have a big heart to serve the people for the holidays, and year round.
“We want to see the community rise,” she said. “It just starts with the basics, people have what they need. That’s it in a nutshell.”
But this time of year is a time when many local families that are hurting, she said. Even if they can’t afford dinner, they will go over their monthly budget trying to provide for the family for the day. They end up short on food for the following weeks.
When her son was young, she recalls the days of trying to get through college, keep on top of all the bills as a single mom, while making sure her son stayed on the path in the right direction.
The money to support a family adds up quickly, and is difficult for struggling young mothers and the elderly.
“Everybody has bills, and when you don’t have the extra you have to pick and choose. It doesn’t matter how much money or how many assets you have. Everybody’s boat is the same,” she said.
This year, she is excited that the Deltas are also helping out Holy Trinity AME Church, where they are providing 30 baskets and bags of food to the community.
Over the weekend, she and other sorority sisters were busy shopping for Thanksgiving goodies, happy about coming together to serve, as they always do for special occasions throughout the year.
“It kind of kicks off the holidays, and it gives us bonding time,” she said. “It’s a sisterly holiday spirit that all of a sudden starts generating when we get together.”
It’s the time when all hearts and hands come together for the sole purpose of providing something special for the community, she said.
They shop and gather up the items, help distribute food, and hang around after the event to connect with the community and talk, give hugs and smiles with the food.
It’s something the organization looks forward to every year. They get more than they give.
“It does create moments for the people who are genuinely thankful and gracious, it gives them the heart to be genuinely gracious to someone else. Giving is contagious,” she said.