Father Has Been Handing Out Free Thanksgiving Dinners For 44 Years

Nov 23, 2021 by apost team

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and joy, and in places like the United States and Canada, it is akin to the importance of Christmas. Families surely find a way to make time for each other during Thanksgiving, and the promise of good food and festivities brings everyone together from far away. People enjoy Thanksgiving in many ways; blood family members can find it important to spend time with each other, while others find that the family they have created with their friends comes first. 

But what happens when we don't have a family to spend Thanksgiving with or if we don't have the money to host a big dinner? Thousands of people across the country are unable to celebrate anything relating to the holiday season because of external circumstances, which means that it can be a difficult time to get through. However, there are always people whose generosity and kindness can change lives for the better. It isn't every day that we come across a person who has dedicated their lives to making a difference. 

Marty Rogers is one such person and he believes that Thanksgiving is a day to embody kindness and be a "beacon of hope" in his South Bronx neighborhood. He has lived in the same neighborhood for 66 years and has made sure to provide a Thanksgiving dinner every year for more than four decades. His altruism has gained him the nickname "Mayor Marty" and "Saint Marty." He has created a community that looks forward to Thanksgiving every year, and this year will be no different. 

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TODAY reported that Rogers' Thanksgiving dinner has been a yearly event for over four decades at a local church in South Bronx, the Immaculate Conception Church. "In 1977, there was a senior center in the church hall, and so a crew of us who were involved in the church said why don't we try to talk to the center and say, 'Could we ever open it up on Thanksgiving Day?'" Rogers told the publication. 

"This is our 44th year in a row, never missed, of a Thanksgiving dinner," he added. Initially, the dinners were only served senior citizens, but it then expanded to include people experiencing homelessness.

"They come in the door, they get welcomed, they get a name tag," Rogers told TODAY. "And I get to play maitre d'. 'How's the food?' 'Is everything OK with you guys?' And at the end, they come around with seconds of pies. I love to see people [say] 'I can't eat no more.'"

Even when the world was shut down last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rogers provided food by offering a takeout option. The wonderful thing about Rogers' Thanksgiving is that it is a family affair. His adult children, Joe and Maria, have been part of community efforts since they were children. He will be serving Thanksgiving dinner again this year. 

"To me, Thanksgiving has always been this big celebration with 250-plus people," Rogers explained. "It was never anything but that." The good example he has set for his children continues to impact them even today. 

Rogers' daughter Maria said, "I would describe my father as someone who truly embodies the spirit of giving, in every aspect, and just knows the importance of community, of treating people with dignity and respect."


What do you think about Marty Rogers' big heart and incredible community efforts? Tell us your thoughts, and be sure to pass this story on to your friends and family as well. 

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