DHA thankful it can help provide holiday dinner for residents

Members of the Dover Housing Authority are distributing Thanksgiving dinners to all of its residents this week. From left, Julie Kennedy, Nicole Curry, NaKisha Cartwright, Ami Sebastian-Hauer, Jessica Balog, Leah Balog, Justida Comer, Christian Chilton and Bobby Smith were busy handing out dinners at the Dover Housing Authority’s Office at Manchester Square on Monday. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

Members of the Dover Housing Authority are distributing Thanksgiving dinners to all of its residents this week. From left, Julie Kennedy, Nicole Curry, NaKisha Cartwright, Ami Sebastian-Hauer, Jessica Balog, Leah Balog, Justida Comer, Christian Chilton and Bobby Smith were busy handing out dinners at the Dover Housing Authority’s Office at Manchester Square on Monday. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

DOVER — Ami Sebastian-Hauer looked at all of the bags containing complete Thanksgiving dinners set to be distributed at the Dover Housing Authority’s administrative office at Manchester Square on Monday afternoon and said, “This is what giving is all about.”

Ms. Sebastian-Hauer, executive director for the Dover Housing Authority, said this is the first year that the organization has been able to provide Thanksgiving dinners to all of its 363 families and that it couldn’t have done it without the help of several partnerships.

She added that this Thanksgiving, the DHA is thankful for the Dover Police Department, Food Bank of Delaware, Communities in Schools and the United Church of Delaware for all teaming up to support Project Gobble.

“It’s unbelievably exciting,” Ms. Sebastian-Hauer said. “It’s the first time in my 23 years here that we are going to be able to provide Thanksgiving dinner for every single one of our public housing and tax-credit residents.

“That’s 363 families — so we’re probably helping about 1,000 people in all.”

Members of the DHA distributed Thanksgiving dinners to 53 of its tenants from Derby Estates, Willis Road and all of its public housing site houses that are scattered throughout Dover on Monday.

Recipients received a shopping bag containing a 10- to 16-pound turkey, stuffing, mashed potato mix, rolls, gravy, veggies, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese and a cookie mix.

“This is something,” said one of the bag’s recipients, who wished to remain unidentified. “It is something that I am truly thankful for.”

Today, Thanksgiving dinners will be distributed to Simon Circle/Hayes Circle residents from 4:15 until 5 p.m. at the Simon Circle Club, then at Manchester Square/Manchester Court from 5:15 until 6 p.m. at the circle in Manchester Square and then at Senate View from 6 until 7:30 p.m. at the Family Investment Center at 430 New Castle Avenue.

The DHA will also be providing dinners for all of its residents at Queen Manor and Owens Manor who will be home for Thanksgiving. It will provide dinners at the Community Rooms of each building from 4 until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to show that we’re looking out for our tenants and just ensuring that everybody has a good Thanksgiving and they can celebrate with their families,” said Jessica Balog, of the DHA.

Ms. Sebastian-Hauer said the Thanksgiving partnership is a testament to the relationships the DHA has developed within the community.

“It speaks volumes about the partnerships that we have,” she said. “We always try to be a good partner with any organization and any agency in the city and we’re just fortunate enough and blessed enough that Dover Police Department called us up and said we want to adopt you for Operation Gobble.”

Then, other partnerships emerged and combined to help provide for the unprecedented DHA Thanksgiving dinner distribution.

“We received help from the Dover Police Department, Communities in Schools, the Food Bank of Delaware and United Church,” Ms. Sebastian-Hauer said, “and then we reached out because we had to buy dinners for some other families that were not sponsored by these agencies, so we called Acme Markets and they gave us a really nice discount on the turkeys because they wanted to partner with us, and then Boston Market.

“What we’re doing with Boston Market is we will be feeding the elderly residents at Owens Manor and Queen Manor. We’re going to give each of them a dinner.”

The biggest bonus for the DHA is that it does not have to select individual families, like it has been forced to do in the past, with which to help during the holiday.

“Every year what we usually do is we have to select families,” said Ms. Sebastian-Hauer. “It’s hard to select the neediest of all of our families, but we haven’t had the resources to do this is the past.

“And that’s something that we’re extremely thankful for.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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