By Jackie Hampton,
Councilman Kenneth Stokes of Ward 3 said giving back to the community is very important to him as he vividly recalled a time when he was in the first grade and was heard crying by the garbage pick-up man in his community. When asked why was he crying the man, known simply as the ‘garbage man,’ was told that Stokes was crying because he did not have lunch money, and learning this, he gave Stokes money for lunch. The Councilman said, “I will never forget it; you must always help others and that is what I have been trying to do over the years.”
Stokes, along with his administrative assistant Ethel Mangum, were the hosts of the annual Thanksgiving Community dinner held Monday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Jackson Medgar Evers Library located at 4215 Medgar Evers Blvd. Children as well as adults poured into the library until it was filled to capacity. Stokes welcomed the guests and assured them there was plenty of food. Mangum said over 200 people were fed.
Attendees included residents from the community as well as guests from the Kids University, Global Day Care and AnCor Adult Day Care Center.
Prior to lunch being served, Darryle Smith, a member of the Mississippi Mass Choir, sang “I Won’t Complain.” His singing invoked a church-like atompshere where listeners echoed the lyrics with Smith, others shouted ‘sing it babe,’ while others waved their hands in the air.
James Johnson from Camden, Mississippi said he heard about the luncheon and stopped by prior to heading to an appointment. He said “This is really nice.”
The meal was prepared by Kazzy Ferninand, a well- known chef from the Fairview Inn in Jackson.
As you entered the library the aroma of meat on large grills set up outside mingled with dishes being served inside to include traditional thanksgiving dressing.
Mary Brown and Betty Bryant both said they truly enjoyed the dinner and agreed this was an excellent pre-Thanksgiving activity for the entire community. They both attend the AnCor Adult Day Care Center on Robinson Road Ext. The adults at the center regularly attend events at the Medgar Evers Library.
Bryant said the Medgar Evers Library is so special to the community and especially to the children who come to study and use the computers at any time. She said, “I just thank God that this library is in this community and I hope it stays.” Brown said she was looking forward to having dinner on Thanksgiving Day at her daughter’s home while Bryant said she will be spending Thanksgiving with her sister.
Stokes acknowledged his appreciation for Anne Sanders, branch librarian of the Medgar Evers location, for allowing Ward 3 to host the Thanksgiving lunch at this community library. Sanders along with library staff member Charlinda Guice said they really enjoyed this activity. Both ladies were volunteer servers. Also assisting with the event was library volunteer Kevin Edmondson.
Stokes, the longest serving African American elected in Jackson City Government, said he was very pleased so many came out and enjoyed this community event.