The Duncan Banner
With the help of community businesses and individuals, Tina Bradshaw has become a hero this Thanksgiving. Bradshaw teamed up with the community, gathered volunteers and hosted a free Thanksgiving dinner Monday evening.
When Bradshaw moved to Duncan, she was a single mother with a six-month-old daughter, and still had to have help from community agencies and individuals for about a year.
“I always told myself that if I got in a position that I could give back to this community or a different one, I would,” she said.
Bradshaw began planning in September to target an audience that she felt might not be able to get a Thanksgiving meal otherwise.
“Being a military wife, I know there are a lot of veterans that are widowed or widowers,” she said. “They are not going to cook a full meal for themselves. Then there are a lot of families that are having a pretty hard time with the recession when the economy is bad. In my heart, I felt like it was the right thing to do.”
After only four days of planning, Bradshaw realized she was going to need help. Heritage Oaks Church of the Nazarene and the Duncan VFW was the first to jump on board.
After that, the support just grew. Businesses and individuals donated food and many volunteers showed up to help beginning at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
“I have been so overwhelmed with the support from the community and businesses that I have almost cried,” she said. “I know I am going to before the night is over.”
The community donated enough food to feed 1,500 people even though Bradshaw and her team were only planning for about 600 people.
Community sponsors for the event included KFC, The Chateau, Chicken Express, Wright’s Steakhouse, Mazzio’s Pizza, El Campasino, Wal-Mart, Goodners, Homeland, Chisholm Corners, Murf’s Guns, Little Boy Blue, Superior Painting, Stockman’s, Aaron’s Rent to Own, Walgreen’s, Greens Apartments, China One, Twin Oaks Golf Course, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Duncan Candy, Ridley Meat, Sundown Travel and many area churches and individuals.
Bradshaw is planning to donate any leftovers from the event to Women’s Haven, Department of Human Services or a local children’s shelter.
Just after 3 p.m. Monday, the VFW was already starting to get busy with people finding their way in for a hot meal.
“They love the food,” Bradshaw said. “Everyone is in great spirits. They just keep saying ‘This is a wonderful thing that you are doing. Thank you so much for doing this.’ One gentleman said, ‘If you had not done this, I would not have had any dinner at all this year.’”
Bradshaw is already mentally planning a repeat for next year’s holiday dinner.
“We are going to do it again next year,” Bradshaw said. “I plan on starting it again in July. I would like to stay central in town somewhere but I will be looking for a larger location if someone can donate for next year.”