SLP connects with the community

Nylah Powell | Staff Writer

Mr. and Mrs. Keys with their children at the community dinner. | Courtesy of Nylah Powell

On Nov. 17, the Greer Dawson Wilson Student Leadership Program hosted a community Thanksgiving dinner for families in the Hampton area.

They called local churches, shelters, and social services to reach out and see who they could get involved. Members met each family upon entrance and served the families a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Ham, turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, greens and corn bread were some of the dishes served.

SLP started hosting this community dinner a few years ago when one of the co-facilitators, Andrew Williams, came up with the idea.

According to Student Activities director Anzell Harrell, “He started this because he had a big heart. He felt that it was good for Hampton’s SLP to give back to the community and to help other people who are less fortunate.”

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and give thanks for the things we have in the world. Not everyone is as fortunate to have what others do.

At Hampton, these things do not go unnoticed. For this reason, SLP continues to give back to the community.

Senior political science major Whitley Pannell said, “It’s a very rewarding experience to see the smiles on everybody’s faces and to see everyone having a good time.”

There were about five members in the program when it first started, and now it’s growing. Many of the preparations have stayed the same throughout the years and are executed smoothly. However, event coordinators plan to make the project even greater in the future.

“We’re looking to do something a little different with it next year, and that’s maybe carrying it to a shelter where people are a little more comfortable in their element,” said Harrell. “We’re just going to throw some ideas at the students so they can figure out how they would like to do it and how they would like to be a part of it.”

Many of the families attending came from Sixth Mount Zion Baptist church.

“Deacon Colton Ashby was contacted and he told the church about the event,” said member Terry Keys.

Hampton has collaborated with Sixth Mount Zion on many occasion, for many different purposes. One way in which HU helps out the church is Wednesday night tutoring with the children, but it doesn’t stop there.

Pannell reflected, “Quite frankly, it’s nothing to take a little bit of time out of your day to do something … to help somebody else and put a smile on someone’s face.”

While there were some familiar faces at this year’s community dinner, there were new faces as well. “This was our first time at this dinner. The food was awesome! I didn’t know we could bring more people, and I would have brought more with me,” Sixth Mount Zion member Michelle Herman said.

The ultimate goal is to let those who are less fortunate know that they are not alone and get more community members involved over time. SLP plans to spread the word and continue the growth of this program.


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