The crisp chill in the mornings and cool afternoon breezes have served notice to all Richmonders that autumn has finally arrived. As shoppers begin saving and retailers staff up for the impending holiday season, one local non-profit is already going full-speed ahead towards their main event, the Community Thanksgiving Feast, held annually at the […]
The crisp chill in the mornings and cool afternoon breezes have served notice to all Richmonders that autumn has finally arrived. As shoppers begin saving and retailers staff up for the impending holiday season, one local non-profit is already going full-speed ahead towards their main event, the Community Thanksgiving Feast, held annually at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
The Giving Heart officially began in July of 2003 for the expressed purpose of helping other non-profit organizations run more efficiently. Founder Vicky Neilson, a Richmonder for 25 years, initial goal was to open a warehouse/clearinghouse so that local charities could work together to avoid the duplication of services that made it difficult to meet their stated goals. At the time, however, real estate prices were still sky high and valuable warehouse space was hard to come by. After local chef Jimmy Snead and the Family of Friends group served their last community Thanksgiving in 2004, The Giving Heart found the niche they were destined to fill.
Starting in 2006, The Giving Heart Community Thanksgiving Feast set out to be “an extended dining room for everyone who wants to come out and have a meal,” according to Neilson. The Giving Heart’s signature spin on such a large-scale dining service is to place a host at each table, someone who serves and engages their fellow diners, breaking the ice and bridging the gaps between all walks of life. In their first year of feast preparation, they served over 2300 friends and neighbors, in addition to over 600 volunteers.
Governor Tim Kaine stopped by to honor the proceedings in 2007 and other local charities began making the contributions that would grow into The Giving Heart’s yearlong ‘Giving Bag’ program. Radio-One, Inc., whose local stations include Kiss FM and Power 92.1, has been a major contributor to the event, publicizing and hosting food drives that have made up a large portion of the food served. In an effort to feed as many people as possible, all leftovers are taken to a network of charities and resource centers for further distribution.
This year, Whole Foods Short Pump joins the list of contributors in a couple very special ways. Kicking off Friday, October 2nd and running on each Friday throughout October, all proceeds from the very popular Five after Five program will go directly to The Giving Heart.
If you’re not aware of Five after Five, the weekly special allows attendees to receive a souvenir Whole Foods glass and sample five food dishes and taste five wines for the $5 admission fee, which is then donated to that week’s designated charity. In addition to Five after Five, Whole Foods patrons will have the opportunity to support The Giving Heart Turkey and Pie Countdown by adding $1, $5, $10 or $20 at checkout to be put towards the goal of 300 fresh turkeys and 300 delicious pies for the Community Thanksgiving Feast.
The Giving Heart’s Community Thanksgiving Feast will take place on Thursday, November 26, 2009, from 11am to 3pm, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center , located at 3rd and Marshall Streets in downtown Richmond. Admission to the feast is free and free parking is available at the parking deck adjacent to the convention center. For more details on volunteering for the event or making a contribution, visit The Giving Heart website.