Turkey and the works at Duggan Park Apartments
Thanksgiving came early for five families at Springfield Housing Authority’s Duggan Park Apartments.
And for that, they are extremely thankful.
The five families came to the Community Center at Duggan Park on a recent afternoon, and left with the makings of complete dinners for the upcoming holiday – turkeys, potatoes, carrots, squash, yams, pasta, cranberry sauce, rice, gravy and more.
The feast of giving was thanks to ‘The Crew,’ a group of retired professional Springfield men whose united mission is to give back to the community, in particular to those less fortunate.
“We give as much as we can, and we’ve adopted Duggan so we’ll definitely be back here,” said former City Clerk Wayman Lee, who is this year’s president of The Crew. The group has already given to Duggan several times, including dinners last year for Christmas.
For Sylvia Dixon, The Crew’s largesse will make all the difference come Thanksgiving Day. She is the mother of five and grandmother of five, and is expecting a big family crowd in her Duggan apartment for the holiday feast.
“I’m very grateful,’ said Dixon. “I didn’t expect this. It’s overwhelming. It will absolutely make a huge difference for us at Thanksgiving. I have a big holiday with a lot of people coming to celebrate.”
SHA Executive Director Denise Jordan was on hand to visit with Duggan residents and share gratitude with The Crew personally.
“I want to thank The Crew for their continued support of our residents and for the work they do throughout the community,” Jordan said. “For all that they do in the city, it’s nice to know that they are including the Springfield Housing Authority and Duggan Park Apartments in their giving.
“We appreciate it very much,” she added.
The Crew stands for Collectively Recognizing Empowerment Within includes 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.
The partnership with Duggan began last year through SHA’s family-based early literacy program, Talk/Read/Succeed! and Youth Engagement Coordinator Jimmie Mitchell, who is now a member of The Crew.
Lee and Mitchell are hoping to expand the number of families to 10 for next year’s Thanksgiving, and some day to provide the dinners for every family at the 106-unit development located in the Indian Orchard section of the city.
“We want to expand the program as much as possible every year,” Mitchell said. “The Crew has been great and we appreciate that.”
The makings of the meals came from Stop & Shop, adding up to nearly $300.
SHA Resident Services Director Pamela Wells said many families struggle to put out such a big meal, and families were chosen based on need.
“Everyone is very thankful that we have a group The Crew willing to help out our families and make the holiday season a happy one,” Wells said. “The Crew is truly putting the ‘thanks’ in Thanksgiving for these families at Duggan.”
Duggan resident Danielle Morales said she is grateful to have been chosen to receive the Thanksgiving fixings.
“This is definitely a big help for us,” said Morales. “It’s basically the whole meal. We’re very thankful.”
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