Thanksgiving outreach to uplift the community

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Dendy said her program, which started off with family and friends serving, has grown to include volunteers from the Oakland Catholic High School MAPS program, along with their families. She said her vision is to have the dinner grow to where there’s no one in the Hill District and the surrounding communities that is without food or the pleasure of company that day.

Like Dendy, the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh also felt a need to give back. On Nov. 22, the Y, along with volunteers from the Girl Scouts, #1 Cochran and the Bairel Family Y, served Thanksgiving dinner to 100 male residents at the Allegheny YMCA location on the North Side.

Rig Riggins, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, said the event was held because a lot of people do not have families and “it’s nice to reach out and make them apart of the Y family.”

Riggins said the event was well received and that he wanted to thank volunteers who participated because “it wouldn’t have been the same without them.”

Dendy isn’t the only one who felt compelled to show thanks for their many blessings by giving back to the community. Maurkice Pouncey,  center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, in collaboration with the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, held a Thanksgiving Celebration on Nov. 21 at Stage AE on the North Shore, where he and friends, including fellow Steelers, donated 200 turkeys and holiday meal “fixin’s” to low-income families.

“We’re in a blessed situation. From the city that I come from, we always just try to give back. We were raised that way from our families,” Pouncey said in an interview with the New Pittsburgh Courier.

Pouncey said he felt it was important to give back to Pittsburgh residents because “they (residents) give so much to us-they give us their time and all the memories. So for us to give back a small amount is awesome.”

The two-hundred families who attended received turkeys, a giant eagle gift card to purchase trimmings to go with the turkey, along with snacks provided by McDonald’s.

Pouncey said he and his foundation will continue to host events that give back to the community.

Dendy’s Thanksgiving Dinner is open to all and will be held from 12-6 p.m. at Wesley Center AMEZ Church, on Centre Avenue. For more information, call Dendy at 412-600-1944.

(Contributions were made to this article by J.L. Martello.)

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