Springfield man and local restaurant serve hundreds of free Thanksgiving meals


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - It's not Turkey Day just yet, but it certainly felt like it inside the 1636 North restaurant in Springfield Sunday night.

One resident has now made an annual tradition out of organizing this event, where he has teamed up with the 1636 North restaurant to give out free Thanksgiving meals. He told 22News this event is a labor of love, and a great excuse to make a good example for his son.

"It's important to me because I want to teach my son it's bigger than just us," said Raphael Desir, the event organizer. "When you give back to the community, you have the community behind you."

And it wasn't just the turkey, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, apple pie, and more festive food, there was also live music and tons of people gathering for this now-yearly event.

But, as we all guessed, the food was the best part.

"Let's be for real, food brings everybody together and with it being free it's gonna bring everybody together," Desir continued.

Last year around 200 people were able to get a free Thanksgiving meal and this year, over 300. And it was all possible because of every sponsor, including the most important one; 1636 North.

The restaurant, located at 220 Worthington Street, volunteered all of its food and space to make it all happen. The owner told 22News it was an easy choice, especially after she saw the community help get her business off the ground and through the pandemic.

"To feed the community, it's just such a great feeling," Amber Kinzie expressed. "It gives you a warm feeling to give back cause we were here for a long time and people gave to us so we're just trying to give back now."

Now, a couple hundred people have already had a warm tasty Thanksgiving meal, something many of us take for granted but something we should all be thankful for.

Right now, one in five Americans say they doubt they have enough money to afford a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and so any time people give back it makes a big difference.

Local News

WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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