FLINT, Michigan — It came in a dream. Chia Morgan woke up one September morning a decade ago with a vision of serving food to children in need. She decided immediately to turn the dream into a reality.
With less than two months until Thanksgiving, planning for that very first Blessed to be a Blessing dinner started immediately.
“I wanted to provide a home cooked meal for families without making them feel less than or that they were getting a handout,” said Morgan, 32. “It’s like a family reunion but nobody really knows each other. Everybody looks out for each other.”
The Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings is held two days before Thanksgiving. It is presented by Well of Hope, sponsored by local businesses, coordinated by Pentecostal Temple Apostolic Church of Flint, and hosted by Catholic Charities.
Looking out for each other also lead Morgan to create another unique aspect of the dinner. Thousands and thousands of socks.
It started in 2014 when Morgan looked around at those enjoying their meal and noticed something startling: Even in the late November cold weather, many people wore no socks.
“It’s something you don’t really think of, essentials like that. You get coats and shoes and other things like that — but you never think of socks,” Morgan recalls. So, by the next year, Morgan had forged an alliance with Elga Credit Union and added a sock drive.
Socks can be dropped off at any Elga Credit Union location through Nov. 9. Donations to the sock drive also can be made through Well of Hope’s website.
This year’s dinner will be 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20 at Catholic Charities Center for Hope. The dinner has an open door policy and any and all are welcome regardless of their level of need. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.
Over the years, the dinner has grown from serving about 100 people through community donations to adding corporate sponsors and volunteers from area churches. Now more than 600 people gather to share in the Blessed to be a Blessing meal — which also includes a DJ, dancing and celebrity servers.
“It’s such a family-oriented event that everyone just looks forward to coming from the guests to the servers. It goes hand in hand,” Morgan says. “You really can’t tell the guests from the volunteers because everyone will pitch in and lend a hand.
“The atmosphere is love. Everybody is showing some type of love to each other.”
For more information, visit WellofHopeFlint.org