December 8, 2015
Members of the Harvest Foundation Youth Board are giving back to the community with a donation to help a local Christmas tradition continue its mission.
Richard’s Dinner, marking 30 years in the community, received a $2,500 grant from the Youth Board on Monday, Dec. 7. Organizer Scott Norman said he’s extremely thankful for the generosity shown by board members.
“This award represents roughly 1,000 people getting to eat a hot meal at Christmas,” Norman said. “I was inspired several years ago by Mother Teresa who said, ‘if you can’t feed 100 people, then feed one person.’ We can’t change every day of the year for everybody in our area at one time, but we can chip at it a little bit by bit. On Christmas Day, we can make sure that nobody in our area has to be alone, and that nobody has to go hungry.”
Paulina Vazquez, chairperson of the Youth Board, said board members reached out to Norman to mentor them and give advice regarding a Thanksgiving Eve Dinner the group wants to plan for 2016.
“We thought it would be nice to show our appreciation for Mr. Norman in the form of a grant for Richard’s Dinner,” Vazquez said. “He (Norman) has been incredibly helpful in giving the board advice about our planned Thanksgiving Eve Dinner starting in 2016. Because of his experience with the Christmas dinner, he is what we need to get a jump start on our ideas.”
Vazquez said Norman has offered to let board members shadow volunteers at Richard’s Dinner so they can gain first-hand experience for their Thanksgiving event.
“We cannot thank him enough for offering to help us,” Vazquez said.
DeWitt House, program officer at Harvest and adviser to the Youth Board, said, “As an adviser, I’m extremely proud of the Youth Board members. They have worked diligently to develop their signature event. This group of young leaders will have a tremendous impact on our community.”
Richard’s Dinner is a free community meal on Christmas Day organized through Grace Network. The meals are served in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church, located at 23 Starling Avenue. Around 1,600 meals were served or delivered at last year’s dinner, according to the Martinsville Bulletin.
“It’s exciting to have some young blood join us at this year’s dinner,” Norman said. “We plan to take the young people and attach them at the hip to our more experienced volunteers. We’re going to show them how we do food preparation, how to abide by health department regulations, how to keep everything clean, and much more. We’ll show them how we welcome guests at the dinner – we try to make them feel at home. We can’t wait to have these young people come aboard and show them the ropes.”
Manly Boyd, a member of the Martinsville Kiwanis Club, said he was proud to partner with the Harvest Youth Board on such a worthy project.
“This partnership is ideal for us (Kiwanis) because of our mission to help youth and our ability to provide mentors for the youth board,” he said. “This is a project where we can really get involved in helping our area’s youth.”
He said it’s “commendable” that members of the youth board “recognize the needs in our community, and they’re willing to do something about it. It’s spectacular that these students have taken this on.”
To find out more information about Richard’s Dinner, contact Grace Network at (276) 638-8500. To donate, make checks payable to Grace Network, P.O. Box 3902, Martinsville VA 24112.
The Harvest Youth Board, a 13-member board comprising students from Martinsville, Henry County and Carlisle schools, is funded by Harvest Foundation and the Martinsville Kiwanis Club. To find out more information, visit www.theharvestfoundation.org.