Several community groups have come together to help continue a Thanksgiving Day tradition in west Louisville at the recently closed Parkland Boys & Girls Club.
In October, the Salvation Army shut down four area Boys and Girls Clubs due to a budget shortfall. One of the facilities that closed was the community center in the Parkland neighborhood, which hosted an annual Thanksgiving Day dinner for needy children.
Since the closure, a group of community activists have organized an advisory committee to help maintain lost programming and encourage support to re-open the community center.
Parkland Advisory Board Chairman Waymen Eddings says the organization also found there was an outcry in the community to maintain the holiday feast as well.
“We are trying to fill the gap and makes sure it’s a successful event that the kids who are used to eating at this event have this service provided for them this year as well. We have a long-term view of support that recognizes even though the economy has downturned, the community still needs and the kids still matter,” he says.
Eddings says several local businesses and individuals have helped put the event together.
Since the closure, several businesses and community leaders have voiced support for fundraising efforts to re-open the facilities. Those businesses include the Humana Foundation, Kroger and Louisville Gas & Electric, which have pledged to match funds raised by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana re-open three clubs.
Parkland Advisory Board spokesman LeBron Seay says the closure of the community centers have had an adverse effect on at-risk youth in the city, but presents the West End with a challenge.
“Community centers that service our African-American youth shut down on them all at once and when they shut down, traditions shut down. And this dinner was one of the traditions that shut down as well as other ones that have stopped due to the closure,” he says. “We’re here to be a voice for the community, but this is also a call out to all our community businesses, churches (and) media to get behind this effort.”
The dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, November 22 at 6 pm and will be hosted at the site of the Parkland Boys & Girls Club, 3200 Greenwood Avenue.