Jessie Hurse, Director of Student Life at UM-Flint, remembers Thanksgiving as one of his mother's favorite days. For him, it hasn't been the same since his mother Lula passed away two years ago. His memories of her preparing the family feast are what encouraged him to do something for the less fortunate in our community. His idea has grown beyond his greatest expectations.
"I've thought about those fond memories of Thanksgivings past, and realized how fortunate I am to simply be able to relive these moments," said Hurse. "I also thought about the many people in our community who never experienced a Thanksgiving holiday complete with a turkey and a full meal."
Hurse began using his own money to buy turkeys to give away. When he told other UM-Flint campus members about his plan to honor his mother's memory by making Thanksgiving special for those struggling, they began to give to the effort as well. Hurse decided to look for another community partner to expand the giveaway even more. He approached the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church in Flint where his mother had been a proud member for 40 years. With the church's help, Hurse was able to increase the number of turkeys to 150.
At the same time Hurse was putting together his memorial to his mother, the UM-Flint Department of Public Safety was planning to provide food to other community members in need thanks to a donation they had received from a prominent community leader. After a consultation with the donor, it was agreed to merge both ideas into one event.
"The more people that heard of this event, the more they wanted to help and contribute," said Hurse. "Through gracious donations, we were able to increase our original order of food with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to a semi-trailer full of food. After consulting with the staff at the Food Bank, they provided us with an additional semi-trailer of food at no additional cost."
The distribution of the food is planned Friday, November 16 from 4-6 p.m. Volunteers are needed to help with distributing the two truckloads of food. If you would like to make a donation of cash, or a turkey, contact Jessie Hurse at 810-625-7585.
Another way to live the spirit of Thanksgiving is by hosting a UM-Flint international student for dinner. The International Center is looking for families interested in hosting an international student for Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 22. Contact Malin Clark at 810-762-0867.