Kingston Creative Education Center’s Thanksgiving event helps spread love to those in need – Daily Freeman

KINGSTON, NY – The Center for Creative Education’s third annual Spread Love Thanksgiving event delivered holiday cheer to anyone who stops by Thursday.

The event, which took place outside the center’s headquarters in RUPCO’s Energy Square on Cedar Street, featured free takeaway meals featuring Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, applesauce, pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes, and free vegetables. Plus, Gregory McCollough’s Beyond the 4 Walls Outreach had everything from mittens and boots to winter coats.

Everything was shared on a no questions asked basis.

A DJ playing inspiring and uplifting tunes created an atmosphere of gratitude among both volunteers and those they served.

Bryant “Drew” Andrews, the center’s executive director, said his organization, which works with People Place, Community Action and many other organizations, was able to arrange 1,500 meals for those in need. Meals were distributed not only to those who attended but also by delivery.

Andrews said meals were prepared at several area churches in the days leading up to the event. He added that Thanksgiving can be a very lonely day.

He said, “We did it on this day because we are a community and we come together for the community, not just today but all year long.” “It’s a community effort. If everyone does a little, we’ll get a lot.”

Even on a busy holiday, Andrews said, he’s finding that more and more people want to be a part of serving their communities.

“People want to spend more time sharing and being grateful,” Andrews said. “Because we are all fortunate in this field, we are fortunate to have a community, and we are fortunate to help those who might need some extra help. Everyone wants to be involved.”

Gregory McCullough, founder and CEO of Beyond the 4 Walls, said his organization is seeing the largest demand for coats and has about 400 coats to distribute.

McCullough said he believes in the mentality of giving only to those who need things. He added that those in need often get stuck on things like checking income for social services.

“You can wait 35-40 days for services and you can still be denied,” he said. “People are in need and we’re going to help them now, and ask questions later if it comes to that.”

Eric Rolls, of Kingston, also assisted on Beyond the 4 Walls. He said he bought storage lockers and helped get a truck with more coats and some household items that were moving quickly.

Barbara McClinton was in her sophomore year to assist with the event. Her children are over 21, she said, so she traded in the traditional family-based Thanksgiving to help the larger community.

“When I spend all day giving, I live with gratitude,” she said. “I can help a child who needs something to wear or an adult who needs underwear.”

At the turkey dinner table, Joe, Alicia, and Mia McDonald helped distribute the meals. Joe McDonald said he and Alicia work with CCE’s My Brother’s Keeper mentoring program. He added that the trainees came to participate.

“We’ve done this in the past two churches,” said Alicia MacDonald. “I go to River of Life Church, and I volunteered there last weekend as well.”

Joe McDonald said, “It feels good to give back to help others who aren’t as lucky.”

At the next table, Chris Bergeron, owner of Peace Love Vintage in the Rondout District, her husband Mike Bergeron, who works for UPS, and People Place volunteers were helping hand out pie and treats. The couple lived in the area for three years, and she said she always wanted to get involved in more charity events.

“I’m excited to be involved,” said Chris Bergeron. “At Kingston, everyone is so loving and wants to give back. I love the vibe.”

PHOTOS: Spread Love Thanksgiving event in Kingston

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