Second Annual Grady's Thanksgiving set

By Greg Miller
STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com

  
JOHNSON CITY -- The Second Annual Grady's Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
   The special Thanksgiving meal at Grady's American Grill, 1914 North Roan Street, will offer an opportunity for attendees to make new friends and combat loneliness, according to Wells. "Depression overlays the holidays really badly," she said. "So to be able to have a family atmosphere, the laughing, the joking, to be able to be with someone is very important.
   "The staff comes in and prepares and serves the food. Volunteers are also there to help serve the food and wrap the napkins. Volunteers will also be needed throughout the day."
   Churches are needed to help transport attendees to the special meal. "Those we serve are usually the elderly from the low-cost housing," Wells said. "We go and pick them up and bring them in for the day on a 30-minute schedule.
   "If the churches wish to bring people from Elizabethton, they can set up their pickup points and tell us how many people they are bringing. They can come from any county in our service area, which includes Carter, Johnson, Greene, Unicoi, Washington and Sullivan counties.
   "We have enough pickup points here in Johnson City. We're looking for churches in other areas which want to bring people. Pickup points in Johnson City include Tyler Apartments, Keystone Apartments, Watauga Square and John Sevier Center, Briarcliff, Harrison Village and City View. We will be going to Manna House, Carver, and anywhere else that we can think of."
   Those who live in the homeless domicilary at the VA will also be able to participate, according to Wells. "We will be bringing the gentlemen out of the homeless dom at their dinnertime hour, bringing them out of the environment that they normally have to be in," she said. "We want to get them out and have the feeling of being in a restaurant. Last year, watching their joy just thrilled me. We need to say 'thank you,' but we also need to say, 'we honor you.'"
   Grady's is the main host, Wells said. "They do the cooking, preparing and providing for most of the food," she remarked. "They also go to other suppliers and restaurants, asking them to join in this day of giving."
   Anybody who is hungry can come to the meal, Wells said. "And anyone who is lonely and just wants to be with someone else for the day."
   Wells, who hopes that last year's total of about 1,600 people will be served this year, notes that any leftover food will be not be wasted. "The food will go to Second Helpings at Second Harvest Food Bank," she said. Agencies such as Good Samaritan Ministries and Salvation Army get food from Second Harvest for their feeding programs.
   In addition to helping coordinate the Thanksgiving meal, Wells plans to bake up a little something. "I am going to make my homemade rolls for Thanksgiving Day," she said.
   Donations for the project should be made payable to Good Samaritan Ministries, earmarked "Grady's Day of Thanksgiving," and mailed to Good Samaritan Ministries, Inc., P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605.
   Those who want to help provide food, as well as churches which want to help with transporting people to Grady's for the meal, should call Jody at Grady's American Grill at 282-2722.
   For more information, call 928-0288 or e-mail sarah@goodsamaritanministries.com.