“It’s a beautiful sense of community to have people come
together and share a well-prepared holiday meal.” Brenda Clack
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the season for giving, and one Flint couple has shared their volunteer spirit with their community for nearly four decades. The Brenda and Floyd Clack Senior Citizens Thanksgiving Dinner has been a Flint tradition for 36 years, inviting senior citizens in the area put on their Sunday best and join the Clacks for a traditional Turkey Day meal – roasted turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, hot rolls and butter, and a scrumptious dessert.
The annual dinner is held at the Foss Avenue Baptist Church in Flint on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, which this year falls on November 22. And, meals are served until the food runs out. “We don’t turn anyone away and there are no reservations needed,” Floyd reports.
The Clacks came up with idea to host a community Thanksgiving dinner in the late 70s, when unemployment in the area was high as many General Motors workers had been laid off. “We thought it would be a great idea to help,” Brenda recalls. The very first dinner was held at a senior center on Detroit Street (now Martin Luther King Avenue), and the food was prepared by Don Haley, the owner of Italia Gardens, which was located Downtown at the time. The dinner was also held at Northern High School for many years.
Various local sponsors support the community event. “We just donate to it,” says Brenda. The food is provided by the Genesee County Community Action Resource Department and is served by volunteers from local businesses and organizations. The MTA provides transportation for those who need it. About 300 to 400 seniors come to enjoy the turkey dinner with all the fixings.
“It’s more than just a meal,” says Floyd. There is entertainment and music, and agencies set up booths to get resource information out to seniors. Those attending receive a gift bag filled with fresh fruit to take home. “We really enjoy doing this,” the Clacks agree. “The seniors always look forward to it and many of them don’t have family left to celebrate the holidays with,” Floyd adds. “They come back year after year, and it gives them an opportunity to enjoy a meal and enjoy fellowship.”
“They love to be served,” Brenda says with a smile. “It’s a beautiful sense of community to have them come together and share a well-prepared holiday meal.”
Photo provided by Floyd & Brenda Clack