On Thanksgiving Day, Hosea Helps hosted its 49th annual Thanksgiving Holiday Festival of Services dinner at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta.

In addition to the food that was served at the Thanksgiving event, Omilami said that the organization would also be delivering at least 5,000 meals to the homes of metro Atlanta senior citizens.

In fact, the events not only supply meals to Atlanta citizens who are in need, but Hosea Helps also provide much-needed access to clothing, shoes, medical services, flu shots, showers, toiletries, and beauty/barber services.

Additionally, the organization has committed to aid people in signing up for assistance programs like WIC, SNAP/food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid. Also, additional social services will be provided to immigrants.

For the last 49 years, Hosea Helps has provided the largest sit-down Thanksgiving dinner in the Southeast, which started with the Rev. Hosea Williams back in 1979.

However, in recent years, the dinner has expanded, under the leadership of Williams’s daughter Elizabeth Omilami, and her husband Afemo, to include many other services and amenities to Atlantans in need.

The Festival of Services dinner was just the first major event that Hosea Helps hosts during the holiday season. The organization still has plans to host its Children’s Christmas Party (Dec. 23) and Christmas Holiday Dinner (Dec. 25) and Omilami said they are anticipating opening the doors to its new headquarters in Southwest Atlanta very soon.

“This the most important year for the organization,” Omilami said. “Not only will we conduct our Children’s Christmas party and Christmas Day festivals, but we will also soon be hosting a ribbon-cutting party at our new headquarters located at 4535 Forest Hills Drive in Atlanta. At that location, we will be able to service 30 percent more people.”

Over the years, Hosea Helps’ holiday events have emerged as the premier option for people in need to be served by civil servants, corporate executives, celebrities and everyday citizens.

As Hosea Helps continues with its 49th year of holiday service, the organization has received some help of its own, partnering with corporate supermarkets Kroger and Publix, as well as the Arthur Blank Foundation, to ensure that citizens of Atlanta who are in need are cared for.

Both grocers donated more than 1,000 turkeys for this year’s Thanksgiving Festivities and provided thousands of dollars to financially support towards Hosea Helps’ initiatives.

“We congratulate Hosea Helps as they celebrate almost 50 years of serving this community,” said Felix Turner, manager of corporate affairs for Kroger’s Atlanta division. “Kroger has partnered with Hosea Helps for over 25 years, with monetary support as well as product donations to help feed those in need.”

Kroger also donated 500 turkeys that were valued at about $8,000, Turner said.

Omilami said that though Publix and Kroger are competitors in this market, she commended that they were both able to put aside their “competitor’s edge” and agree that no citizen of Atlanta, especially children and seniors, should go hungry.

“Publix and Publix Charities are proud to support Hosea Helps again this year,” said John Sanita, a representative for Publix. “We believe in their mission to helping to support, lift up, and stabilize those in need.”

Publix donated $5,000 worth of turkeys and hams to Hosea Helps for the annual Thanksgiving Day event in downtown Atlanta. Publix Charities also supported the event with a $15,000 donation.

Completing this circle of support is The Arthur Blank Foundation, which stepped in the flip the bill for the organization to host the event at the Georgia World Congress Center.

“Our third major sponsor is Mr. Arthur Blank and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, who has paid for the venue for Thanksgiving day which will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center,” Omilami said.

The announcement about the season of events and sponsorships was made by Hosea Helps CEO Elizabeth Omilami on Nov. 12, during the organization’s annual “Great Turkey Drop-off,” at the City of Atlanta Detention Center, the site where all of the events’ food will be prepared.

“(Hosea Helps) has provided the city of Atlanta with the Thanksgiving festival for 49 years,” Omilami said. “We will be cooking the meals at the Atlanta Detention Center kitchen.”

“We had to have a location with a large enough commercial kitchen to cook enough luscious meals for 21,000 people,” she continued. “We welcome back to the Hosea family our newest co-sponsor Chief Patrick Labat and his staff.”

According to Labat, the Atlanta Detention Center possesses one of the largest commercial kitchens in the Southeast.

“When we were approached last year, we didn’t know if we could make 20,000 meals but with over 300 volunteers in a 24-hour period the team came together and made it happen,” Labat said.

But, with all of the help that the organization has thus far, it is still asking for more to reach its goal.

Omilami has asked for more donations whether it’s money or food, saying that the organization is still in need of more vegetables and desserts. She also said that she is hoping that the City of Atlanta will “step forward as they always do to help us.”

Sponsor dinner for a family this holiday season. Please visit www.4Hosea.org to find out how 404-373-5705 “0” and eomilami@hoseafeedthehungry.com 678-231-0744.

(Photo: Hosea Helps)

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