OLD TOWN LANSING—Each Holiday Season, the Old Town Commercial Association (OTCA) hosts a Thanksgiving fundraiser, bringing cheer and hope to those less fortunate in the community.
This event is not like the rest, instead of holding a dinner or volunteering at a soup kitchen, the OTCA brings the food to the people.
“We package food, ingredients, and recipe cards for the families to follow,” said Old Town’s Executive Director, Megan Barrett. “Prepping takes a couple of months, and the day of is really long. We’ll be up from 7 in the morning to 7 at night, but it is well worth it.”
This year, event will kick off on Nov. 24th.
How it began
An OTCA board member, David Such, created the program. Barrett said that he volunteered at local food banks and soup kitchens, but wanted to do more. That is when he got the idea to bring Thanksgiving to homes.
This is the thirteenth year of the Compassionate Feast, and the charity event is stronger than ever.
The OTCA aims each year to find families who need meals the most. They partner with Head Start, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Christian Services, Cristo Rey, Eve Inc., and Community Mental Health in order to get the names of different families to donate to.
Barrett says that this year, they will be serving approximately 200 households, all varying in size and ethnicities around the Lansing area.
With the support of the West Saginaw Meijer, and contributor, TJ Duckett, all of the food baskets will be well prepared and ready to distribute by Monday, Nov. 24th.
The OTCA hosts several events each year, bringing awareness, prosperity and culture into the Old Town community.
According to ILoveOldTown, in the past 15 years alone, Old Town has gone from a 90 percent vacancy rate to just 9 percent. It has grown in business as more successful restaurants, galleries and boutiques have made this artsy community their home. The population also increased about 2.3 percent from 2007 to 2012, along with a 20.6 percent increase in per capita income.
The OTCA has played a big part of the coming up of Old Town. Many residents and employees show gratitude towards them and their efforts.
“We know about the events that they [OTCA] host,” said Old Town small business owner, Sandi Lester. “We try to be active in all ways. What they do is very overwhelming. I give them a lot of credit.”
The next step
Although the OTCA has taken pride in this event each year, this will be the last year they will be hosting it. Instead they will hand the torch to the Local Epicenter of Worship, who will run this event next year and future years to come.
This season, the Local Epicenter of Worship has worked with the OTCA to learn the ropes.
“We are so excited to be a part of something this influential,” said Associate Pastor, Jacqueline Humphrey. “It is truly a blessing to be able to serve the community.”