BronxWorks Thanksgiving: Family Heritage Luncheon, other events

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Monday, December 8, 2014

A sure sign that the holidays are upon us is the annual Family Heritage Luncheon presented by BronxWorks Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) for the families of pre-school children enrolled in it.  This was an opportunity for families in the gorgeous mosaic that has become the South Bronx to share their diversity with one another and forge bonds that transcend labels that often fragment communities.  

The Carolyn McLaughlin Community Center at 1130 Grand Concourse was filled with colorful attire from the nations of Africa, Asia, as well as Latin America and scented by the cuisine of these nations that was prominently featured on a buffet table. The Family Heritage Luncheon is scheduled near the Thanksgiving holiday in hopes of having families of diverse backgrounds giving to and receiving from each other.  

Some 80 people attended the luncheon, and in addition to food, the multinational theme was also carried out by cultural performances. Ana Ramirez, a BronxWorks staffer from El Salvador, performed a dance from that country called Las Cortaberes, the “coffee picker.”

A dozen or so nations were represented at the luncheon, including Togo and Nigeria from Africa, India and Bangladesh from Asia, and El Salvador as well as the Dominican Republic from Latin America.  

Other Thanksgiving observances throughout BronxWorks included programs or locations holding pre-Thanksgiving dinners or luncheons for program participants or distributing turkey dinners to people from the surrounding neighborhoods.Events BronxWorks or BronxWorks partners engaged in are listed below:  

•A contingent of New York Knicks, including retired superstar Walt Frazier, now a Knicks announcer, took time out to serveThanksgiving dinners to Mott Haven families.

•Willie Colon, an offensive guard with the New York Jets, dropped by the Classic Community Center at 286 E. 156th Street to hand out turkey dinners to families from the surrounding Melrose neighborhood.  (Mr. Colon grew up in the Bronx as a resident of NYCHA Melrose Houses.)

Left to right – Kiesha Roberts, Oday Aboushi, NY Jets Tackle, Danny Barber, Breno Giacomini, NY Jets Tackle, Willie Colon, NY Jets Offensive Lineman, Lisette Nieves, Eileen Torres

•BronxWorks’ Betances Community Center at 465 St. Ann’s Avenue distributed turkey dinners to families.

•The annual November to Remember gathering for students in BronxWorks’ youth workforce and education programs brought together current students and alumni for a basketball game between them and staffers at the Mclaughlin Center in the Concourse section of the South Bronx. There were also arts & crafts and other games. The event concluded with a holiday luncheon.

•The Early Childhood Learning Center at 1472 Montgomery Avenue in Morris Heights also held a harvest luncheon for children and their families.

•PS 130 and City Year held a Thanksgiving dinner for students, their families, and staff in the school’s cafeteria and gym.City Year provided the meals. Since 1999, PS 130 has hosted an out of school time program operated by BronxWorks.

•Turkey dinners were served at all of Bronxworks, senior centers, which include: the Morris Innovative Senior Center at 80 East 181st Street, the Heights Neighborhood Senior Center at 200 West Tremont, the E. Roberts Moore Senior Center at 515 Jackson Avenue, and the East Concourse Senior Center at 236 East Tremont Avenue. These meals are part of the 130,000 that BronxWorks provides each year to the most vulnerable of our

•A full Thanksgiving meal was provided to previously homeless adults at Living Room/Safe Haven. BronxWorks has operated Living Room/Safe Haven since 1997. Living Room/Safe Haven helps the long-term street homeless successfully transition back to mainstream life. These meals are also part of the 130,000 that BronxWorks provides each year to the most vulnerable of our borough. BronxWorks is grateful to the many institutions that provide the food and hospitality that make our

Thanksgiving celebrations special occasions.  This year, we are especially grateful to Graffiti 2 Community Ministries, a host of other local ministries, Feeding New York, City Year, Sylvia’s Restaurant, Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks, the Garden of Dreams Foundation, and the New York Jets.  Additional thanks are extended to retired Giant great Carl Banks and the G-III Apparel team in collaboration with Kids In Distressed Situations (KIDS) for their coat donations that helped kick off the 2014 giving season.

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