TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — This time of the year can be difficult for students.
Many of them are far from home and can't get back for the holidays, which is why a FAMU alum is making sure no student has to eat alone this Thanksgiving.
"Loneliness is probably the main feeling students feel... sadness, just being by themselves mostly," said Alexandria Perry, a junior at FAMU.
Perry says for her FAMU classmates who can't make it home during the break, the holidays can be tough but, thanks to her cousin Lei Snelling, there is somewhere for them to go.
"The Thankful Giving Feast came about in 2006 when I was a freshman," Snelling, the founder of Thankful Giving Feast, explained. "I overheard students talking about how they couldn't go home for Thanksgiving."
That sparked an idea and Snelling, with the help of her church and family, created the Thankful Giving Feast.
It was originally called the FamUly Feast and it was just for FAMU students. But 14 years later, the free Thanksgiving meal is open to all FAMU, FSU, TCC, Flagler and Keiser students.
"When students come, I hope they have a sense of community so that they don't feel so alone during the holiday and even if they do come with their friends they can maybe get to know some other people as well," said Snelling.
The feast is a community effort. DOMI on Railroad Avenue donates the space for the event and people, churches, and local organizations volunteer their time and donate food.
"Over the years people will just continue to ask how can they help and they give as much as they can," said Snelling. "We also have local restaurants that cook food and they serve it as well."
For students, the feast is about sharing and being together, something those from out of town can be grateful for.
"It's a beautiful thing to see individuals get together, especially individuals who don't know each other to get together and have fun and commune with each other and just be thankful because you don't have families to go back home to or you just can't go back home," said Noradine Thompson, a freshman at FAMU.
The Thankful Giving Feast is always held the day before Thanksgiving.
This year it is Wednesday, November 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 pm at DOMI Station (914 Railroad Avenue). There will be a full turkey dinner with all the fixings as well as vegan and vegetarian options.