100-black-men-thanksgiving-2010_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

OVERTOWN — Hundreds of South Florida families were given one more reason to be thankful when the 100 Black Men of South Florida partnered with Publix Supermarkets, the United Parcel Service (UPS) and other entities to provide thanksgiving dinners to more than  550 families on Nov. 20.
The giveaway took place at the Overtown Youth Center in Miami and involved more than 100 volunteers and 50 young men from the 100 Black Men’s Leadership Academy Mentoring and Education Program. They came out to box up food and load it onto UPS delivery trucks.

The trucks delivered the food to churches, synagogues, schools, community centers and homeless shelters across Miami-Dade County to be distributed to needy families.

Chi Ali, a member of the 100 Black Men, co-chaired the Thanksgiving drive, which is in its 15th year. Holding the event gives the group an opportunity to instill the values of service into those in its mentoring program and help the less fortunate, he said.

“This is a big part of what our organization does, trying to give back not only to the youth but to the community at large,” Ali said. “It’s also good that the kids we mentor are here so we can show them the importance of giving back.  Seeing is believing and if they see black professionals giving back then they will want to be black professionals giving back.”

The message was not lost on 14-year-old Michael Ivory, a ninth-grader at North Miami High School, who has been attending the Leadership Academy for three years. “It feels good to know that [we] are helping so many families get a dinner for Thanksgiving,” Michael said. “Seeing the less fortunate tends to help you appreciate what you have more and welcome the opportunity to help others.”

According to Ali, each box of food contained a 10-pound turkey, rice, cranberry sauce, green beans, corn, Jiffy corn muffin mix, a pack of dinner rolls and a gallon of punch, enough to feed up to four people.

“We’re very happy to be able to do this for the community,” said Bobby Hall, president of the 100 Black Men. “It’s heartwarming to know that we will be able to be a blessing to families who might not be as fortunate as we are.”

For more information on the 100 Black Men of South Florida, its programs and services, visit www.100blackmensf.org.

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GROUP LEADERS: From left are Chi Ali, Michael Ivory and Bobby Hall, who helped spearhead the 100 Black Men of South Florida’s Thanksgiving food distribution to some 550 families at the Overtown Youth Center in Miami on Nov. 20 in partnership with Publix Supermarkets, United Parcel Service and other organizations. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARC HENDERSON/100 BLACK MEN OF SOUTH FLORIDA