The smells of freshly roasted turkey, gravy, stuffing and apple pie wafted through the Oakland Beach Boys and Girls Club last week.
At an early Thanksgiving dinner organized by Maverick Funding Corporation, about 100 children and adults gathered to enjoy a free, warm dinner.
The tradition started last year when Maverick Funding Corporation that had just moved to Warwick, decided to host a holiday feast. Maverick wanted to do something charitable, and contacted the Boys and Girls Club to see what they could do.
“We wanted to do community outreach where our business is,” said Zachary Levesque, branch manager for Maverick.
So they organized a dinner right before Christmas.
This year, Levesque was itching to partner with the Boys and Girls Club again, and together with the Club’s executive director, Lara D’Antuono, organized a Thanksgiving dinner. Usually the club’s turkey dinner is donated and organized by the staff and families, but this year, Levesque took care of everything.
“Zach has done this very generously, the kids are so excited,” said D’Antuono before the meal started last Thursday night.
The food was donated by Malanzi Restaurant, and the menu featured corn, carrots, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, turkey and a mixed green salad. There was also apple pie for dessert.
Maverick employees stood behind a buffet table serving the piping hot food.
“I like the stuffing,” said Lilly Palm through mouthfuls.
“It’s good,” echoed Mitchell DePardo, intent on his food.
About 80 boys and girls cleaned their plates alongside their families, who were also invited to partake in the feast.
“It’s all about the kids,” said a parent, “They’re our future.”
The children at the Boys and Girls Club spend time around the holidays giving back to the community by making holiday baskets for the needy.
But D’Antuono said the club could use some charity of their own, as parts of the building are in need of repair.
D’Antuono and Levesque agreed that fundraising is one of the last things people are doing with their money in such a tough economic time. If people have disposable income, charity is not the first place they think of putting it.
But D’Antuono said the repairs and improvements are necessary for the club, which so many families value. She said the members of the club frequent the clubhouse daily, and grow up there.
“We become part of the family,” she said.
To make a donation to the Oakland Beach Boys and Girls Club, call Lara D’Antuono at 467-4385.