Keeping the Tradition Alive!

SDRT’s Thanksgiving Feast is arguably one of the BEST events of the year because it actualizes one of SDRT’s core values: community.

Imagine families of volunteers and students alike sharing a traditional Thanksgiving meal together in Ibarra’s multipurpose room; mountains of mashed potatoes and carved turkeys and chickens resting in Crock Pot jacuzzis connected to a web of extensions cords; families and friends lining up on the stage to cash in their tickets for their turn at the photo booth; two dads from different Syrian families building a giant Jenga tower that would challenge any sky scraper in Chicago. It’s a beautiful painting of a truly American Thanksgiving where a neighborhood comes together as a family, the kind that Norman Rockwell wanted to capture, except in this version, about 30 different languages are spoken by the people at the table.

This year, the feast looked very different due to the pandemic. Although we could not bring our volunteers’ and students’ families together for a meal, we still kept the tradition alive!

Last Saturday, volunteers met at Ibarra’s parking lot and organized over 40 baskets and 80 bags for our families, each containing the items of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Rotisserie chicken (a third of them Halal!), mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, dinner rolls, pumpkin and apple pie, fruit, and bottled water were all nestled into large baskets and delivered in socially-distanced style to our families. Along with the dinners, each family received coloring books, coloring supplies, a checkers set, fresh produce, and various soaps! The volunteers’ cars were filled to the brim with baskets and bags all for our students to enjoy with their loved ones. And even though the event was quite different, the students were SO excited not only to receive the delivery but to see their Zoom tutors in REAL LIFE.

We are incredibly grateful for all who contribute to this organization, whether you are a volunteer, donor, or blog follower! SDRT cannot do its work without you. Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

About Mimi Lee

Mimi started volunteering for SDRT in 2016 and currently serves as its Middle & High School Director. She met her husband at SDRT, and they live together in City Heights. She has her Master's in Education and teaching credential in English Language Arts.

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