Group serves more than 400 at 3rd Annual Gold Ridge Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Andrew Cryer

GOLD RIDGE – On Thanksgiving Eve, a handful of volunteers got up bright and early to feed those in need a Thanksgiving meal. Myra Walker, of Cullman, alongside Karma in Cullman, a local charity organization founded by Rachel Bryant, orchestrated the event for the third consecutive year at Gold Ridge Community Center.

One of the volunteers who dedicated her day to feeding those in need was Jade Bryant, 15, of Cullman. She started the day at 7 a.m. preparing large amounts of donated food items to start serving those who sought their help at 2 p.m.; she, and other volunteers, continued serving those in need until 8 p.m.

Jade Bryant says she chooses to volunteer because she enjoys it. “I love meeting everybody, and it’s fun,” she said. “It’s just the people, how grateful everyone is.”   

Walker partners with Karma in Cullman because, she says, she wants to “do something for the community,” during the holiday season. She estimates that roughly 450 people, mostly families, came to the community center throughout the course of the day, and hopes to see many more next year as the number of people coming every year continues to grow.

Leftovers from the event were sent to the Cullman County Sherriff’s Office to provide officers a warm meal.

When asked why she decided to partner with Walker to host the event, Rachel Bryant said, “Thanksgiving is often overlooked, and it’s such an important holiday for many reasons.” According to Rachel Bryant, she only handles the organizational aspect of the yearly dinner, but Walker coordinates all of the food and volunteers.

Karma in Cullman, as an organization, provided those in attendance with information regarding their Christmas Assistance Project and used the event as their last sign-up day.

“Many of the people we invite are low income; we wanted to reach out to them on both levels,” stated Rachel Bryant. Karma in Cullman is open all year, and many people are able to seek help that they otherwise didn’t know existed; however, winter tends to be the hardest time of year.

Both Rachel Bryant and Walker expressed gratitude to all of the local businesses and organizations that donated either food or their time to help get the word out about the annual Thanksgiving event. Each gave a special thank you to the Gold Ridge Volunteer Fire Department for the use of their facility to host the dinner.

Karma in Cullman will be hosting two upcoming events in the near future: Cookies and Cocoa with Santa on Dec. 10 for low-income families to provide them an opportunity to have a free photo with Santa, and Community Christmas Help Day on Dec. 17. Both events will take place at the Karma in Cullman office in Cullman.

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