A Special Thanksgiving Celebration – People with Disabilities

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What did you do?

I, along with our family and friends, organized a Thanksgiving lunch a bit early this year on Friday, Nov. 17, at the Volunteer for America (VoA) center in Houston, TX. This VoA center serves around 75 families having members with physical or mental disabilities.

 

The purpose of the lunch was to have special needs members forgot about their concerns and enjoy an afternoon with each other. I personally felt that those with special needs were often neglected by mainstream society or sometimes by their own families. When I visited them in early October, and asked if I could host a Thanksgiving lunch for them, they were excited and welcomed the idea with open arms.

 

My brother and I had decided to organize a basketball fundraising event in our neighborhood and school, in order to encourage neighbors and students to play with a purpose and to be aware of the needs of such people at the VoA center. We were able to raise more than $1,000 that went toward purchasing the food for the lunch.

 

A traditional Thanksgiving spread in our case featured turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and some vegetarian options for the attendees to pack their plates and enjoy. Around 70 people with disabilities, their families, State Rep. District 126 Kevin Roberts, and Consul General of India Dr. Anupam Ray attended the lunch.

Impact

Families and people with disabilities were very emotional, welcoming us as a part of their families. It was an overwhelming experience. State Representative Kevin Roberts and Consul General admired the lead role the youth have taken in giving back to the community. “They are our future leaders and as I was encouraged growing up, I wanted to encourage them,” said Roberts. “What they are doing here makes a very significant difference not only in their lives but in the lives of others.”

Consul General of India, Anupam Ray, closed off the speeches to members, saying that scriptures from his Hindu religion, that are over a thousand years old, read that the world is one family. The Indian community gathering to organize this event makes them not only good Americans, but good Indians.”I admire what they are doing to demonstrate that they are good Americans,” said Ray.