ALBANY, Ga. -- Businesswoman LaNicia Hart and Albany Police Department Deputy Chief Nathaniel Clark were engaged in a recent conversation about the city's homeless population and the coming holidays, wondering exactly what the less fortunate would do while others were gathering with family and friends, and an idea hit them.
"We were talking about how it would be nice if someone did something for (the homeless) during the holidays, and we just looked at each other and said, 'Let's do it,'" Hart, owner of the West Broad Avenue Expressations business, said. "So we jumped in and started contacting some of the nonprofits and some other businesses. Things just took off."
Hart, Clark and others who shared their concern for the homeless formed Hands of Hope, which will present Feed the Homeless (at No Cost) Thanksgiving Day at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meal will be prepared by Friendship Missionary Baptist volunteers and will be served in the church's gymnasium.
"In talking with some of the outreach groups in the city, we found that downtown is the largest homeless district in Albany," Hart said. "We started looking for a place to serve the meal, and the pastor at Friendship said we could have it at the church for no charge. They said we could serve the meal in their gym, and their kitchen committee volunteered to cook the food.
"Everything just blossomed. We've since talked with needy families, churches and outreach groups to let them know the meal will be available so that the homeless can celebrate Thanksgiving, too. Since most people will be with their families on Thanksgiving Day, we thought we'd provide a hot meal for some of the city's less fortunate."
Individuals or groups that would like to donate to the cause or volunteer on Thanksgiving may contact Hart at (229) 436-3939 or Clark at (229) 431-3286 or (229) 407-0411. Those who would like to donate money, food, napkins, paper plates or other items may drop their donations by Expressations at 236 W. Broad Ave. or by Friendship at 400 Pine Ave. Donations brought to the church may be delivered to Ronald Carter or Sylvia Hart.
"We're accepting any donations -- napkins, paper plates, dinner rolls, forks and spoons," Hart said. "We think it's a good opportunity to reach out to others during the holidays."