Organizations team up, host Thanksgiving dinner at YMCA

Thanksgiving Mind Changers

<p><p><p><p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”>By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson</p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”><a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Mind Changers</a>, the <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>University of Alabama Department of Health Science</a> and <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission</a> teamed up and ensured children and their families got a great Thanksgiving meal Friday.</p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”>The Thanksgiving dinner brought after-school campers, parents, and members of the community to the Benjamin Barnes YMCA for food, fun and love before the holidays.</p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”>Mind Changers President and CEO Rodney Pelt said they wanted the children at the YMCA to know they’re loved.</p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”>“We just want to tell our kids that we love them, the parents, all the staffers, everyone who is integral in making things happen at the YMCA,” Pelt said. “We just wanted to help them get ready for the holiday season with a big I love you and a big hug and a thank you.”</p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”>During the dinner, two community partners were honored for helping Mind Changers and the YMCA throughout the year.</p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”>Bob Baumhower was honored for using his Baumhower’s Victory Grille restaurant to offer meals for the YMCA, and Allstate’s Michele Coley was honored for her philanthropy.</p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”>“I’m a big supporter of mind changers and Rodney Pelt, and I love the young people,” Coley said. “I also partner with the YMCA, and I think it’s important as a business owner in the community that you show up so that young people can see you, they can identify with you.”</p><p>Local grandmother Marilyn Ervin said she loves the YMCA and is thankful for everything they do.</p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”>“They really have been a life saver for me,” Ervin said. “My daughter has an illness, and my grandbaby goes here and they take really good care of her. Without the YMCA I don’t know what I would do, because I am a working grandmother and have to work and they take care of her.”</p><p>The <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program</a> was also there, signing up more people to the group’s health database.</p><p>All of Us Community Engagement Lead Joy Bradley said they’re inviting 1 million U.S. residents to help build a diverse health database so they can learn more about how biology, lifestyles and environment affects long term health.</p><p class=”x_MsoNormal”>“We know that a lot of the health disparities that exist in the United States are  heavily concentrated with not only the state of Alabama, but this community in particular,” Bradley said.</p></p></p></p></p>

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