ABOVE PHOTO: Darby Council President Jennifer Parks and Darby Recreation Center Director Janice Davis working at a table.
By Napoleon F. Kingcade
This year, Thanksgiving celebrations may look different for many people across America. There are families that have been financially hurt by the pandemic and today, it’s much harder to keep food on the table. Despite our current struggles, we all must stay strong. More importantly, we all have to stay optimistic and pray for better days to come.
For the folks in Darby Borough, they know this is exactly what they have to do to beat this pandemic. Last Friday afternoon, November 20, their actions spoke louder than words.
In preparation for Thanksgiving Day, over 300 people —which included young adults and children —all gathered at a large table outside Darby Recreation Center and took home Thanksgiving turkeys for their loved ones and families.
With the help of State Rep. Joanna McClinton’s office, 150 free turkeys were distributed to the Darby Borough community, along with 150 more turkeys by Fresh Direct. One hundred more turkeys were donated by members of the Darby Police Department.
The event was held in front of Darby Recreation Center, and many people were greeted by Darby Council President Jennifer Parks and Councilmember Janice Davis, both of whom worked a table together to make sure everyone received a turkey for Thanksgiving Day.
“Yes, it feels good to be out here today and being with people in the community,” Parks said. “We are out here serving our community and making sure each and every family [has] a turkey so they can have a nice and happy Thanksgiving Day. Even for the people outside of Darby, we try to make it a happy holiday for everyone.”
Parks said since the outbreak of COVID-19, she and her staff haven’t been able to do any work from her office; she has been doing her work from her home. So, being among the people brought the council president joy at the Darby Recreation Center.
“Since being home, I have been getting a lot of calls from people who need my help,” Parks said . “Right now, I do everything I can to meet their needs.”
While working at a table, Parks enjoyed talking to the people and helping her best friend, Davis, who’s also the program director of Darby Recreation Center.
“Janice Davis is my best friend,” Parks said. “When I have things that I’m concerned about, she’s the one I always talk to. We have been friends since 1993 when I first became a council member. Janice Davis has a good heart. She tries to help people. She doesn’t care who you are. She works with everybody.”
Darby Police Chief Joseph Gabe said he and a few of his fellow officers were able to help out Janice Davis and the Darby Recreation Center with their donations of 100 turkeys. Gabe said they took money from their police Christmas Fund and they purchased boxes of turkeys for the residents of Darby Borough. “Every year, we assist with the turkeys by handing them out to people in the community,” Gabe said. “We are always about being involved with the community and we always want to have an active role. We try each year to be involved with the people. We always try to better ourselves. That’s what we do. We want to build a better relationship and show people we do really care.”
In addition to all the turkeys that were donated to the people at Darby Recreation Center, Gateway Health Services were also on hand to provide people with information about how to apply for free testing of COVID-19.
The Gateway workers also helped distribute the turkeys by placing them in nice purple bags including copies of the Philadelphia SUN inside of everybody’s bags.
The event ended on a good note, as everyone was delighted to take home a free turkey for their families to eat and enjoy on Thanksgiving Day.