A Village Thanksgiving

Thanks to our generous community!

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L-R: Bill Woo, Craig Edelblut, Jackie Brooks

Last Thursday the residents at BOSS’s Ursula Sherman Village shelter and program for homeless families and individuals were treated to an amazing Thanksgiving feast – thanks to the generosity and community spirit of our friends at the Campus Shared Services IT Department of UC Berkeley!

As the women, children, and men filed into the dining room at the Village, they were greeted by a room filled with Thanksgiving decorations and festive Autumn table settings created and delivered by the kids at Black Pine School, and the smell of delicious holiday food coming from the kitchen. Food for the menu (designed by BOSS’s Food Services Manager Craig Edelblut) was donated by the Campus Shared Services IT Department of UC Berkeley, who had contacted BOSS weeks prior wanting to sponsor the celebration.

“In the spirit of giving,” said Nicolette Langer, CSS IT Operations Coordinator, “we collected donations from our 125 staff members to sponsor dinner for BOSS for their holiday event. As a group, we always enjoy a good meal together and we wanted to be able to make that possible for others!”

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The perfect plate!

The feast was prepared by the BOSS Food Services Team extraordinaire, pictured above right.

“Jackie is a natural when it comes to a real soul-food Thanksgiving,” said Craig. “She worked with me for a few days before Thanksgiving to do all the prep cooking, then on the day, the affable Mr Bill Woo was the chef du jour in the kitchen.”

Also on the prep team (pictured on top) were Craig’s spouse Jeffrey Sunshine, volunteer Sherry Sherman and her two boys Micah and Joshua, and volunteers Lisa Handwerker and daughter Ai De. Lisa an her daughter have been volunteering for the Village Thanksgiving feast for six years prior to this one!

To begin the celebration, BOSS Community Organizer and Development Associate Gwen Austin shared some welcoming remarks and led the community in giving thanks. Usually, residents at the Village get their dinner buffet-style, lined up at the kitchen counter—but not this time! Gwen and Village staff, including Craig and also Program Manager Sheryl Walton, waited on the residents, taking their orders, serving food, and getting drinks.

Table settings made and delivered by Ducks Nest preschoolers
Table settings by Ducks Nest preschoolers

According to Sheryl, many participants told her it “felt and tasted like home”. The highest of praise!

Some of the food was also donated by Duck’s Nest Preschool in Berkeley, and community volunteers assisted with setting up the room.

Elsewhere in BOSS, Sharon “Tank” Wilson, our cook at South County Homeless Project, prepared a similar menu there, and the folks at Casa Maria received the dinner prepared at the Village. All were thrilled.

Gwen (a former resident and now a BOSS employee with a new apartment!) said, “Volunteering at the Village on Thanksgiving was a pleasure. I’m just glad I am able to help when/where needed and give back.”

Said Craig, “The day was a total success, an a very happy one.”

Thank you, CSS IT, Duck’s Nest, Black Pine, and everyone at the Village for making such a warm and memorable Thanksgiving for BOSS participants! To donate or volunteer in BOSS, contact Sonja or Gwen at (510) 649-1930.

From Gwen’s Thanksgiving remarks:

Enjoying football after the meal - of course!
Football after the meal!

To be grateful means giving thanks for more than just the things we want, but also for the things that surmount our pride and stubbornness…. 

Sometimes the things wanted and worked for, and if actually received, may have crushed you…. 

Sometimes just giving thanks for the mystery of it all brings everything and everyone closer, the way suction pulls streams of water together…. 

So take a chance and openly give thanks, even if you’re not sure what for, and feel the plenitude of it all that is living brush up against your heart.”