INDIANAPOLIS — Keaton Robinson is a seventh-grader at St. Jude in Indianapolis who didn’t want a videogame or cell phone for his birthday.
He wanted donations to provide Thanksgiving Dinner for 100 hungry neighbors of the Lord’s Pantry at Anna’s House on Indianapolis’s near westside.
“We have six of my buddies that are helping prepare all the food today plus a couple of cousins and all of our parents have cars so we’re gonna cook it here, prepare it and drive it down there,” he said.
“And I think we have about five turkeys,” added Catilin Yanis. “My grandma has two, my aunt has two and then there’s two other families bringing some.
“We’re like a family that gives back and even as a kid we just learn that you can give back and that will go into your adult life.”
It’s a lesson not lost on the Warren Central High School football team which turned out to haul donated groceries to the vehicles of grateful recipients outside the Moorhead Community Resources Center on East 34th Street where there was enough food on hand to provide Thanksgiving meals for 350 people.
“In your neighborhood, you’re not sure if they’re struggling and you’re doing this to help them,” said David Walker, 17. “The community is so good and everyone’s coming together and doing good stuff for everyone in the community. It’s a good thing.”
The Mackida Loveal & Trip Outreach Center organized donations to fill Thanksgiving tables and pantries.
“It’s just like that song: greens, potatoes, sweet potatoes, hams, steaks, briskets, a little bit of everything in those baskets,” said Fletcher Triplett, who counsels young people in the Martindale/Brightwood community. “Having a full stomach gives you a clear mind and it can stop a lot of the violence because if you know that you got something to eat or you got food coming in, it won’t have you out in the streets to the point where you want to hurt or rob or kill someone because you’re going through something yourself.”
Jessica French of United Way of Central Indiana said this Thanksgiving, the first full fall holiday in the post-pandemic peak period, is the perfect time to gather with family and consider charity donation priorities before the end of the year.
“People answer the call,” said French, noting the demand for home heating and utility support in the coming winter months. “There’s really no better time to look around the table and feel very blessed if you’re in front of a really delicious meal and around people you love — who love you back. If there’s any way you can be considering as a family ways to give and pay forward, I think the Thanksgiving table is the perfect first step.”
Giving Tuesday is set for Nov. 30 and a survey by LawnStarter, analyzing charitable giving across 130 large American cities, found Indianapolis in the top 10 of those ranked.
DealAid.org expects nearly 30% of all Americans will make a donation that day averaging just over $100.