Thanksgiving shared by diverse community

Julie McKinney

Melanie Torgerson, an Allerton resident, feeds her daughter Jenny at the Allerton Thanksgiving Dinner Saturday evening. The evening consisted of a turkey dinner, music and poem readings. PHOTOS BY HEATHER STAWICKI |DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Dan Kloock

Volunteers serve guests in Twin Towers Saturday evening at the Allerton Thanksgiving Dinner. All residents of the Allerton Apartment complex, as well as those associated with it, were invited to share in the holiday festivities. PHOTOS BY HEATHER STAWICKI

Credit: Dan Kloock

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be shared with only family members, and family members don’t have to be blood-related.

Allerton Apartments residents learned this Saturday night when more than 60 people shared Thanksgiving dinner together. Turkey with all the trimmings and pumpkin pies brought the community on campus to Twin Towers for the night.

The room was loud with chatting neighbors and crying children until freshman pre-nursing major De’Vinah Saunders silenced the crowd by singing a song titled “Thank You.”

“I want to thank you for being in my life,” she sang.

The American tradition brought together residents of all races and backgrounds.

“Look to your left. Look to your right. You see people you probably wouldn’t have stopped to talk to, ” Talya Bates, senior general studies major, said to the crowd.

She talked about all her friends in Allerton Apartments and listed her friends’ home countries.

“If any of my friends are in the room and I don’t mention your country, I’m sorry,” Bates said.

She asked residents to pass on the open-mindedness of Allerton to others.

“It might change your life in ways which you wouldn’t have expected,” she said.

Bates said she was happy with the turnout and said events such as the Thanksgiving dinner make a residence hall or apartment feel like home.

Deborah Campbell, resident manager and doctoral candidate, coordinated the event. Campbell spoke of the uniqueness of Allerton and how residents aren’t separated by race, culture or age.

“There’s no way I can be in the Bahamas for Thanksgiving, but at least I can be here,” she said.

Residents took turns at the microphone, stating what they were thankful for, which included their children, neighbors and home at Allerton, among other things.

Senior hospitality major Hanifah Abdul-Majid said she was thankful for her roommate who cooks for her all the time.

Elizabeth Love, a community counseling graduate student and resident manager, also spoke to the guests about what she was thankful for.

“I’m also thankful because Allerton has become a second family for me,” Love said.

Contact room and board reporter Julie McKinney at [email protected].