Promise Neighborhood, Springfield police donate Thanksgiving dinners

Springfield Promise Neighborhood gave away 150 Thanksgiving meals to local residents. ERIC HIGGENBOTHAM/STAFF
Springfield Promise Neighborhood gave away 150 Thanksgiving meals to local residents. ERIC HIGGENBOTHAM/STAFF

The spirit of giving ushered in the Thanksgiving holiday with local families on the receiving end of meal donations from separate local organizations.

The nonprofit Springfield Promise Neighborhood gave away 150 Thanksgiving meals.

The Springfield Police Division, with assistance from Clark State Community College students, were scheduled to deliver 11 meals to area families Wednesday.

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Promise Zone schools, including Lincoln, Kenwood, Perrin Woods, Fulton and Clark Early Learning Center were picked to give away the meals, and each school chose 30 families. Those meals were delivered last week.

Aldi provided turkey, traditional sides and dessert, and volunteers from Aldi passed out the meals.

“We just wanted to show appreciation both to Aldi to be able to do that giving back and our families so they know there are people out there who care about them,” said Kali Lawrence, executive director for Springfield Promise Neighborhood.

Springfield Promise Neighborhood was founded in 2010 with the goal of engaging the community to support children and help them succeed in school.

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Springfield Police was assisted by the newly established Clark State Community College Criminal Justice Club. The 30 member club has been collecting nonperishable food items to accompany the meal, which Meijer prepared for Operation Thanksgiving. The Citizens Police Academy Alumni and Springfield High School students also assisted.

“This is a chance for us to give back to the community and meet the needs of families who otherwise would not have a Thanksgiving meal,” said Sgt. Tom Selner, of the Springfield Police Division’s Community Response Team. “We are grateful for the work and generosity of those who donate to and volunteer for this project.”

Operation Thanksgiving has been serving local families for 27 years, but this year is the first time Clark State has participated.

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“I’m proud the club members realize they need to have an understanding of all people that they serve,” said Karen Benton, Clark State assistant professor of criminal justice. “This gives them the chance to actually compare what is discussed in the classrooms to who they will be working with. They will see that community is part of the partnership. This is just the start of developing that relationship.”

The Criminal Justice Club also collected food items to give to students identified by Clark State’s Office of Student Support Services prior to Thanksgiving.

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