BALTIMORE (WJZ) ―The line to get into the biggest Thanksgiving dinner in Baltimore City was wrapped around the Patterson Park Recreation Center.

Weijia Jiang reports inside the recreation center there were hundreds of volunteers serving food at the annual Bea Gaddy Feast, named after the former city councilwoman, who started the tradition 29-years-ago.

Gaddy died of breast cancer in 2001, but her family carries on her legacy, which began with a strike of luck.

Gaddy had no money to prepare a meal, until she won $290 on a lottery ticket two days before Thanksgiving. From that year on, Gaddy held dinners which grew over the years.

Gaddy’s daughter, Cynthia Brooks organizes the event now.

“She prayed to God if he allowed her to have Thanksgiving, she would share it with her neighbors. This is her sharing with her neighbors,” said Brooks.

“Nothing, it would be nothing without Bea Gaddy, I’m telling you,” said Garlinda Thornton.

Thousands of people come year after year and they say it’s not just about the food, it’s about the people.

“I don’t have no family, so I’m thankful and grateful. The people here is my family,” said Karl Epperson-el.

Each person gets a warm plate with all the fixings.

“We have purses, shoes, pants, we have toys I’ve seen exercise equipment,” said Sharosa Crawford, volunteer.

November of 2000 was the last Thanksgiving dinner the center’s founder Bea Gaddy attended before she died.

The Bea Gaddy Center helps people all year round. Its next huge event is a Christmas party for children. Organizers are asking for toys and winter clothes. If you’d like to make a donation, call 410-563-2749. 

(© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


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