Safeway’s 15th Annual Feast of Sharing.

Thousands of District residents enjoyed a free traditional turkey meal with all of the trimmings served by hundreds of volunteers as part of Safeway’s 15th Annual Feast of Sharing.  Undertaken in conjunction with Events D.C., the community event held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, included a job fair, a free clothing hall, health screenings for diabetes and vaccinations.

Along with a host of volunteers and community partners including the Salvation Army, Unity Health Care, Metropolitan Baptist Church, SunTrust Bank, Centerplate/NBSE and the Veterans Administration, many like Octavia Stannis, who had previously received services, came out to serve others.

“I lost my home several years ago after a battle with cancer and had some good people offer me clothing and a hot meal when I needed it the most.  Now that I am cancer-free and in a new home, I wanted to do the same for others.” Stannis said.  “Everyone needs a little help sometimes, and as a Christian, it is my duty to share my testimony and pass out a few hugs.”

Volunteer Phillip Golden, a Southeast resident, helped attendees find and try on donated clothing in the clothing hall and said that each year the demand seems to grow.

“I believe we have exceeded the 5,000 we were expecting,” he said.  “There had been such a need across age groups and for such basic things as undergarments and socks that it makes many of us who are serving take pause and feel thankful for the things we take for granted.”

Safeway Manager of Public Affairs Craig M. Muckle described Safeway’s commitment to helping D.C.’s neediest residents as ongoing.

“While our employees and community partners look forward to the chance to give back each year, we hope there will come a time when all our neighbors can prosper and know where their next meal will come from,” said Muckle. “Until that time, Safeway and our partners remain committed to providing this opportunity for those in need to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday as many of us do—in the company of others. We are thankful for the generosity of all who have made a contribution to create what has become a meaningful Thanksgiving tradition in Washington.”