Christmas giving at Duggan Apartments
When ‘The Crew’ chooses a project, magical things happen.
This winter, luckily for Springfield Housing Authority’s Duggan Park Apartments, The Crew has set its sights on giving a helping hand to families in the development in the Indian Orchard section of the city.
The first stop involved a donation of three complete Christmas dinners to families in need at Duggan. There were hams, yams, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, green beans, and more – enough to feed three families on the holiday, and more than enough to make a difference for those on the receiving end.
“We’re so grateful for this, it really means a lot to us,” said Duggan resident Katieria Vazquez, who came to the Duggan T/R/S! Community Center with her husband, Hector, and their three young children to meet the men of The Crew, and to pick up their Christmas dinner.
“Things are hard for us this year because I lost my job, and we’ve been kind of struggling,” she said. “This helps a lot.”
The Crew – stands for Collectively Recognizing Empowerment Within– is a group of 15 long-time friends, most dating back to childhood, who still get together regularly for socializing and fun. Now in their retirement years, they decided to put their energy, humor and means into finding good things to do for families and children in the community.
And then make them happen.
Crew President Jesse Spinks said any project the group takes on opens up new avenues to share their talents. He looks forward to working with families at Duggan.
“A few years ago we realized that between us we have a lot of talents – a plumber, an electrician, and a few business people – and we could put those things to good use right here in Springfield,” Spinks said. “We love it. Everything we do for people is free and helps the community.”
Among ongoing endeavors are annual work with the Marine Toys for Tots program, Thanksgiving dinners, reading aloud at city schools, benefit dinners, and an annual scholarship given to two college-bound students in the city.
Other Crew members who visited Duggan were Andrew Keaton, David Stover, and Wayman Lee. All agreed that the rewards for their volunteer work are a two-way matter.
“When we grew up together, there were a lot of older men who gave to us when we needed it,” explained Keaton. “We’re pretty much paying it forward, and we’re glad to do that.
Stover added, “I do this because when I was a kid, I grew up with a lot of nothing. A lot of people helped me along the way, and I want to be one of those people now. I want to give back as much as I got.”
Also meeting The Crew at the Duggan was SHA Executive Director Denise Jordan, who thanked the men on behalf of everyone.
“We appreciate this so much, and we thank you for what you are doing here,” Jordan said. “We’re happy to have friends like you.”
Duggan resident Jennifer Buckley also expressed her gratitude, saying the Christmas meal will make all the difference for herself and her young son.
“I think it’s awesome that they’re here and helping us out in this way,” Buckley said. “It’s so nice to know that there are people out there like this in the community, who just want to do something good.”
Mother of two Amada Diaz said she and her husband are also very grateful.
“We don’t have much, so this makes a big difference for us,” Diaz said. “We’ll have a nice dinner at Christmas.”
Also on hand were SHA Resident Services Director Pamela Wells and T/R/S! Outreach Coordinators Daisy Gomez and Jimmie Mitchell. It was Mitchell who make the connection with The Crew, and is now a bona fide member.
“These are great people and we’re so glad to have them here as part of the Duggan family,” Mitchell said.
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