Group effort provides feast for those in need

Chef Dave Chidester prepares a turkey for Thanksgiving at The Boulevard. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — At least for a couple of hours today, the homeless men, women and children in Dover will be able to get out of the elements, have a feeling of love and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast of their very own.

The Boulevard Live Entertainment Restaurant, at 1036 Lafferty Lane in Dover, has teamed up with the Community Outreach Committee and Code Purple Kent County and will feed around 200 homeless people from noon until 3 p.m. today.

“I’m trying to do as much as I can for the community, so it makes me feel good that we’re able to do this for the less fortunate people,” said Charles Boyer, owner of The Boulevard. “They’re out there in the cold so we’re going to be able to provide some socks and gloves and hats and coats for them, as well. We’ve got some donations coming in for that.”

They also received 26 turkey donations and will have all the Thanksgiving fixings to go along with the tasty birds.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office was among the donors, as Sheriff Brian Lewis and his staff brought turkeys and pies to assist with the meal.

“Robert F. Kennedy once said the purpose of life is to contribute in some way to make things better,” Sheriff Lewis said. “What better way than to help mankind on a holiday standing for thankfulness and prayer? To me, spending time with those less fortunate boasts a happiness deep inside of me that comes from my soul. It is a time for renewing our spirit and being grateful for what we have.

“We can live in a society of hate or we can live in a society of love, helping one another with a better understanding and compassion. I have always felt the amazing thing about helping others is reaching down and lifting them up and not expecting anything in return. To me, seeing the expression on one’s face, that someone really cares, is enough for me to have memories of a lifetime.”

The Boulevard owner Charles Boyer. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Ennio Emmanuel, new director for Code Purple Kent County, has been a busy man preparing for the brunt of the winter season and helping feed the less fortunate.

Mr. Emmanuel is all set to pick up as many people as he can and deliver them to Thanksgiving at The Boulevard. He is also thankful that so many in the community have stepped forward, as City Councilmen Ralph Taylor and Roy Sudler Jr. have offered some of their discretionary funds to assist with the event and Camden Wyoming Market has also donated some goods.

“Code Purple Kent County is grateful for the contributions from our community,” said Mr. Emmanuel. “It is the time of the year when the community, government and our vulnerable citizens come together for the holiday events. We hope to cultivate a feeling of compassion, but with a heartfelt love that is contagious.

“Thankfully, we have been able to mobilize, and we are expecting over 200 participants in attendance in addition with another 100 volunteers to help with the event.”

Code Purple Kent County is the organization behind five sanctuaries in Kent County that open their doors for the night to the homeless when the temperature reaches 32 degrees or below, with some even opening for what they consider “emergency situations” when the weather turns bad.

For Mr. Boyer, it is a chance to give a nice respite to the estimated 400 or so homeless people who wander the streets in the greater Dover area.

“We’re feeding the homeless and people in the shelters,” he said. “We’ve partnered with Code Purple and they’re supporting us and helping us get the people here, the turkeys and stuff like that.”

Dave Chidester is a chef at The Boulevard and is looking forward to the challenge of cooking up such a large meal. He says it’s in his blood.

“Thanksgiving for me is mostly cooking large for the family at home and then for restaurants most of the time,” said Mr. Chidester. “I was born and raised in (a restaurant). Thanksgiving has always been a meal we’ve had out there (in the restaurant) and then come home and have another one.

As for cooking a community-donated meal for the homeless, he said, “This will be my first time doing this and I’m glad to be a part of it. I think it’s great. I’m glad somebody finally gives back.”

Sheriff Lewis said those in his office will also be assisting in serving the homeless at the Thanksgiving dinner.

“I say, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just obliterate hate and replace it with love, understanding and compassion?,” Sheriff Lewis said.

That’s the plan for what should be a memorable Thanksgiving today at The Boulevard.

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