By Joel Phelps
With Thanksgiving just three weeks away, two local business agents are pairing up with hopes to feed as many mouths as possible. In order to make Arkadelphia Community Thanksgiving a success and perhaps an annual event, monetary contributions are needed.
The idea stemmed from talks between Ishrael Wordlaw Insurance Agency-Farmers Insurance and Falicia Samuels, real estate agent at United Country Real Estate. Having witnessed firsthand the rising number of evictions in Clark County — 30 in one month alone — Samuels wanted to see to it that people from all walks of life are fed a warm meal.
The two brainstormed on ways to give back to the community, and the idea of Arkadelphia Thanksgiving was born. Loren Wheatley, who works with Wordlaw’s firm, was tasked with fundraising and organizing the event.
“With the wage and income disparity in Arkadelphia, there are people who may not have a quality Thanksgiving meal,” Wheatley said. “We just want to make sure that everyone who wants to have a warm Thanksgiving meal is welcome.”
Arkadelphia Community Thanksgiving isn’t meant to be the typical “soup kitchen” dinner many associate with feeding the homeless, but rather to feed people from all walks of life. “You don’t have to be poor, you don’t have to be rich,” Wheatley said. “We’re a community. Let’s have some good talks, have a meal and foster fellowship and community.”
The event is planned for Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 5 p.m. in Henderson State University’s Garrison Center. Sudexo will be catering the meal, which will include turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, candied yams and sweet potato pie.
With a goal of $5,000 to ascertain all mouths are fed, sponsorships are still needed. Donations will cover meal costs, with any surplus funds benefiting the Community Family Enrichment Center, CADC and the Ecunumerical Food Pantry, Wheatley said. There are three sponsorship tiers: $50 or more for two tickets; $150 or more for four tickets and banner recognition; and $250 or more for six tickets, banner recognition and a sponsorship table. All sponsors who donate $50 or more will receive social media recognition for helping the cause.
So far, First National Title and Celebrations have shown support in addition to the two businesses spearheading the event. Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the Little Rock-based Views Organization, Inc., have also helped as volunteers. All donations are beneficial, Wheatley said, “even if it’s just a dollar.”
Those looking to help out have options to donate: cash can be dropped off at Wordlaw’s firm, 206 S. 7th St., Arkadelphia; checks, made payable to Views 501 with “Arkadelphia Thanksgiving” in the memo, can be dropped off or mailed to the same address; or via PayPal.
Further information can be found at the event website.