L.A. Parker: Mak­ing a small dif­fer­ence is a big deal

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - FRONT PAGE - L.A. Parker Colum­nist

Mem­bers of the city’s home­less pop­u­la­tion en­joyed din­ner and a movie Thurs­day evening as vol­un­teers from the Tren­to­nian area served pop­u­lar BBQ fare out­side the Tren­ton Rescue Mis­sion.

“Ev­ery­thing went well. We ended up serv­ing about 375 peo­ple and then they had the chance to watch the movie “Black Pan­ther,” Brian Blakely, event or­ga­nizer, said.

“I can’t thank enough all the spon­sors that pro­vided food, water or fi­nan­cial sup­port. It’s great to have them in our cor­ner. It was re­ally nice to help as many peo­ple as we did. And we had more than 100 vol­un­teers,” said Blakely, whose fifth an­nual “Din­ner and a Movie” con­tin­ued a fam­ily tra­di­tion of help­ing oth­ers.

The din­ner event oc­curred on Ewing St. as lines formed for a meal and chairs waited for movies guests.

Blakely, a life­time Tren­ton res­i­dent, said his ef­forts have been im­pacted by his mother, Clara Samp­son, a Jerusalem Bap­tist Church mem­ber who has helped the home­less for al­most 35 years.

“My mother feeds a lot of peo­ple through­out the City of Tren­ton,” Blakely said. “She had cancer twice and when her life was spared she made a prom­ise to do some­thing spe­cial. She’s been feed­ing the home­less ever since then.”

Tren­ton Mayor Reed Gus­ciora re­leased a state­ment not­ing that “Our city’s home­less are in dire need of com­mu­nity sup­port. This event is the least that the city could do for those in need of a lit­tle ex­tra help.”

Blakely said Thurs­day’s event served about 100 peo­ple less than a year ago.

“It’s hard to say that we’ve made a dent. I went to the Tren­ton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) re­cently and the place was packed. It’s still very tough out there. I just know that we made a dif­fer­ence for one night,” he added.

L.A. Parker is a Tren­to­nian colum­nist.


A di­verse group of servers dis­trib­uted meals to nearly 400 home­less clients dur­ing “Din­ner and Movie” event at Tren­ton Rescue Mis­sion.

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